About Next OnBoard


NEXT Mark PrintOnBoard is the leading authority on women in the boardrooms and executive suites of Georgia public companies and a catalyst to increase female directors and executive officers at public and private for-profit companies. OnBoard created Next OnBoard in 2014 to engage motivated early- and mid- career professionals as they travel the path to senior leadership and perhaps board service.

Next OnBoard provides its members with opportunities to connect with senior executive women and men interested in OnBoard’s mission, learn about board governance, and expand their professional networks. Next OnBoard advances OnBoard’s mission by identifying and engaging motivated professionals early in their development to senior leadership.

  • ENGAGE young professionals in OnBoard’s mission early in their careers
  • LEARN about board governance
  • CONNECT with senior professionals
  • BUILD a network of accomplished peers

2020-2021 Leadership Team

Nela Powell, Governance Chair
VP of Compliance and Administration, Formation Capital

Nela Powell is the Vice President of Compliance and Administration at Formation Capital, a private investment firm. Her responsibilities include management of the firm’s corporate compliance program, as well as human resources and benefits administration.

Prior to joining Formation Capital, Nela worked as a litigation paralegal and compliance coordinator for a real estate law firm.

Nela holds a BS in Biology from Georgia State University and obtained her Paralegal Certification from the University of Georgia’s Paralegal Certificate Program.

Learn more about Nela

Kayla Draffin, Governance Chair Elect
HR Specialist, Equifax

KD HeadshotKayla Draffin is an HR Specialist supporting Marketing and D&A at Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta. Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency who collects information on over 800 million individual consumers and provides insights to move than 88 million business worldwide. At Equifax, Kayla works closely on review processes, talent development, headcount planning, enterprise training and people strategy. She is most passionate about partnering with business leaders to design their talent strategy in ways that will yield top performance for the organization.

Kayla graduated from Georgia College in May 2017 with a BBA and double major in marketing and management. She previously interned at Jackson Healthcare as a marketing sales consultant and at her schools Admissions Office which began her passion for people and marketing efforts to increase engagement. 

Learn more about Kayla

Hope-Elizabeth Sonam, Co-Events Chair 
Partner and President, The Social Project

Hope-Elizabeth Sonam is a partner in Atlanta based start-up digital marketing agency, The Social Project, as well as a certified coach with a private coaching practice. She is passionate about all things women empowerment, leadership, creative lifestyle design and brand storytelling.

Prior to making the shift to entrepreneurship, Hope most recently served as Vice President of Talent Solutions for Turknett Leadership Group where she managed all sales and account operations for this well-known executive coaching and leadership development firm.

Hope has been involved in leadership positions with various young professional leadership and women’s organizations. She is a founding member of The Women Project here in Atlanta and plays an active role in market expansion for that organization as well. She is also a volunteer with Hero Dog Rescue and fosters homeless dogs in her spare time.

She holds a BA in Psychology from Agnes Scott College, is a certified coach and is currently pursuing certification in Rapid Transformational Therapy.

Learn more about Hope

Kristen Stigler, Co-Events Chair 
Senior Associate, JLL

Kristen Stigler is a Senior Associate for JLL’s Office Tenant Representation group in Atlanta.  Kristen’s main responsibilities include working with tenants to make intelligent real estate decisions, focusing on workplace strategy, occupancy planning, market analysis and lease review/negotiations – saving her client’s time and money while mitigating risk.  She and her team represent a variety of clients from startups to corporate headquarters and multi-market corporate accounts.

Kristen graduated from the University of Georgia’s Honors Program with a degree in Real Estate. She currently serves as the President of JLL’s Women’s Business Network and is an active member of the Atlanta Board of Commercial Realtor, Young Council of Realtors, Buckhead Church, and JLL’s Young Guns program.

Learn more about Kristen

Alexis Isom, Events Chair Elect
Business Development Analyst, Aon Risk Services, Inc. 

Alexis Isom works as a Business Development Analyst for Aon Risk Services, Inc. Although she has only been at Aon a short time, she has already found a way to fuel her passion through the company’s Black Professional Network and Women’s International Network employee resource groups.

Alexis Isom is a May 2020 graduate of the University of Georgia where she received a BBA in Risk Management and Insurance. During her time at UGA, Alexis dedicated herself to promoting diversity and creating inclusive environments for all students on campus. She pioneered a diversity officer role for her business fraternity. She also traveled to conferences nationally presenting on the importance of D&I in the insurance industry. In her free time, Alexis enjoys spending time with her family, trying new foods, and cuddling with her puppy Major.

Learn more about Alexis

Maddie Thykeson, Marketing Chair 
Marketing Analyst, Gratus Capital

Maddie Thykeson is the Marketing Analyst for Gratus Capital, a wealth management firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. As Marketing Analyst, Maddie assists to manage the firm’s brand and aids in the creation of client proposals. 

Maddie graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelors in Sociology. Prior to joining Gratus, Maddie served as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for TrueWealth Management, and before that, she worked with the Athens Area Humane Society as the Outreach and Communications Coordinator where she handled social media, events, and community outreach.

Learn more about Maddie

Katie Hoppenjans, Membership Chair
Marketing Operations Manager, UPS

Katie Hoppenjans is a Marketing Operations Manager at UPS, where she facilitates cross-functional collaboration between the Marketing and Sales teams and leads the development of high-level projects and presentations across the Marketing organization. She also manages an internal insights repository within UPS Marketing.

Prior to joining UPS, Katie worked as a magazine writer and editor in New York. She spent two years as an editor at Bridal Guide magazine and has also written for several other national publications, including Every Day with Rachael RayLadies’ Home JournalTWIST, and Refinery29.com.

Katie holds a BA in English from Columbia University and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Learn more about Katie


Interested in joining the Next OnBoard Leadership Team? Email Nela Powell at to learn more about available positions and how you can get involved.