League Staff

Kimberly A. Winn, Executive Director(804) 523-8521; kwinn@vml.org.  Kim was chosen by the VML Executive Committee as the league’s sixth executive director effective Jan. 1, 2014.  She has a B.A. in political science from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law.  Kim began her professional career as assistant general counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities.  In her 18 years with the Kansas league, Kim coordinated lobbying efforts, served as editor in chief of the Kansas Government Journal, and ultimately rose to the position of deputy director.  She also holds an M.P.A. from the University of Kansas and served as the executive secretary for the Kansas Association of City/County Management.

Leslie Amason, Conference and Marketing Coordinator – (804) 523-8528; lamason@vml.org. Leslie began her career in 1984 as a Regional Human Resources Manager and Events Coordinator for MCI Telecommunications, a position she held for over 17 years.  She also worked at Ampa Events as the Sr. Event Manager, handling corporate relations.  Most recently, Leslie was the Development Manager for Distinguished Events for The American Cancer Society.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and is a native of Richmond. 

Janet Areson, Director of Policy Development(804) 523-8522; jareson@vml.org.  Janet lobbies on human service issues and the state budget.  She also tracks issues of importance to local governments in Congress.  Janet joined the league in 1990 with a background that included six years of experience at the National League of Cities in Washington and two years with the Virginia Association of Counties.  She also has worked for the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget.  Janet holds a bachelor's degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master's degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She is a past president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and serves as the executive secretary-treasurer for the Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA), a VML affiliate and a state affiliate of ICMA.

Nancy Chafin, Communications Specialist – (804) 523-8527nchafin@vml.org – Nancy joined the League in 2015.  She is editor of the League magazine, Virginia Town & CityVML eNews and other member communications. Nancy has worked in public relations and communications in Richmond for nearly 25 years. Prior to joining the League staff, Nancy was corporate communications manager for Media General, one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasting companies. She has also taught Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University. Nancy is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

Sherall Dementi, Special Projects Coordinator (804) 523-8533; sdementi@vml.org.  Sherall joined VML in 2003 as a workers’ compensation adjustor in the Henrico County office of VML Insurance Programs.  In 2005 she became an executive assistant in the league's administrative office in downtown Richmond.  Sherall worked previously as a court reporter with the firm of Cook & Wiley, Inc. for 16 years.  She received a bachelor of science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her duties as special projects coordinator include helping manage the league's database and assisting VML affiliates.  She also serves as circulation manager for Virginia Town & City.

Mary Jo Fields, Director of Research(804) 523-8524; mfields@vml.org.  Mary Jo came to the league in 1984 following eight years as a research analyst at the Virginia Institute of Government at the University of Virginia.  Prior to that time, Mary Jo was a research associate at the University of Alabama.  She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alabama and a bachelor's degree in political science from Auburn University.  At the league, Mary Jo lobbies on education, education finance and retirement issues.  She serves as executive director of the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association, a VML affiliate member.  

Patrick L. Ford, Press Operator/Clerk(804) 523-8526; pford@vml.org.  Patrick joined the league staff in 1991 after serving for 8½ years in the Army.  Most recently, he was a map maker stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he received his printing experience.  A native of Detroit, he is responsible for preparing and sending all VML mailings and all of VML's in-house printing jobs and projects.

Michelle Gowdy, General Counsel – (804) 523-8525; mgowdy@vml.org.  Michelle joined the league staff in 2016. She began her local government career in 2009, working as an Assistant County Attorney in New Kent County.  She later became the New Kent County Attorney in 2010 and spent a brief amount of time as the James City County Attorney in 2015 prior to joining VML.  Michelle worked as a prosecutor and for the Virginia Department of Forensic Science until 2008.  Originally from northern Wisconsin, she received a bachelor of arts degree in International Business from Carthage College in 1993 and a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University in 1996. 

Neal Menkes, Director of Fiscal Policy(804) 523-8523; nmenkes@vml.org.  Neal, a longtime state finance expert, joined VML as director of fiscal policy in 2007.  He worked for the 14 previous years as a legislative fiscal analyst for the Senate Finance Committee where he was responsible for issues related to transportation, economic development and natural resources.  At VML, he researches and analyzes issues related to state finance, including tax matters.  During General Assembly sessions, he follows the actions of the House Appropriations, House Finance and Senate Finance committees.  Before his time with the Senate Finance Committee, Neal worked for the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget for 14 years.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta and a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Michael Polychrones, Director of Member Services – (804) 523-8530; mpolychrones@vml.org.  Mike joined the league staff in 2016. He began his local government service in 1996, as a Member of the Town Council of the Town of Vienna, Virginia, and prior to that was a member of the Transportation Safety Committee and the Towns Planning Commission. During his service on Vienna’s planning commission he received the Planning Commission certification thru Virginia Tech. Mike also served the Virginia Municipal League as a member of both the Environmental Policy and the Finance Committee of which he chaired for two years. He also served on the VML’s Legislative Committee for 2 years and as its Chairman for 1 year. Mike continued his service to VML by being elected to the Executive Committee and ultimately serving as President from 2008-2009. Most recently Mike served as an appointed member of the Planning Board for Brunswick County, North Carolina. Professionally Mike worked for the American Bankers Association for many years and then opened his own independent insurance agency in North Carolina. Mike received his Bachelors of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1987.

Joni S. Terry, Office Coordinator(804) 523-8529; jterry@vml.org.  Joni joined the league staff in 1978 as a clerk-typist. Promoted to administrative secretary in 1980 and to office coordinator in 1982, Joni serves as secretary to the executive director and oversees the day-to-day operations of the office.  In addition, she helps manage the league's computer operations and the VML annual conference registration. Joni served as executive director for the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association for seven years.

Manuel Timbreza, Communications Specialist(804) 523-8531; mtimbreza@vml.org.  Manuel joined the league in 1997.  He formerly was the creative director of Gates Communications in Richmond, publishers of Campus Voice, a national publication for college students.  He also has worked as a freelance graphics designer and illustrator.  He holds a BFA degree in communication arts and design from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Manuel is responsible for the design and production of most league publications, including Virginia Town & City magazine VML eNews, Go Green Virginia, Southern Municipal Conference, VEPGA and the Annual Conference.  He is also main content manager and developer for the VML web site.