Alexis Shumaker, Residence Manager

She has over 12 years experience in Social Work working with children, adolescents, families, and adults. She has served youth in foster care, provided trauma focused interventions to child sexual abuse victims, and facilitated educational workshops to the populations she serves. Alexis earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Mississippi State University and a degree in Social Work at Rust College. She is a Licensed Social Worker in Mississippi. She believes that her life’s calling is to serve humankind from all walks of life.

Ali Papp Chesney, Social Justice Enterprise Director

Ali was initially intrigued by our team of female beekeepers, motivated by the ability of empowering women to find their individual strengths. Her secondary education background created the foundation for her professional experience - leading teams through educational and program development, and now our social justice business director role. 

Bethany Hanczor, LPC-MHSP, Clinical Program Director

Bethany has dedicated her professional career to empowering people through hope and healing, particularly at-risk populations, and specializing in trauma-focused treatment.  She is also skilled in advanced program development and in fostering community partnerships throughout the city of Memphis.  Bethany’s role at Thistle & Bee is to develop and oversee the daily operations of the residential program and to coordinate the care and services of the residents.  She is there for our women survivors as they undertake their healing journey, helping them become grounded in their newly birthed and powerful identity.

Brittany Diaz, Production & Sales Assistant

Brittany is a 2021 graduate of the Thistle and Bee program. She is joining our staff as a full-time production and sales assistant. Born and raised in the city, Brittany loves Memphis. She is a graduate of Raleigh Egypt High School. Coming from a background in childcare, Brittany loves working with inner city youth. She is the mother of two children, Haleigh and Landon.  Brittany likes to watch movies based on books and then read the book in her spare time. 

Eli Cloud, Executive Director

Before joining Thistle & Bee, Eli co-founded Sister Supply, an organization that provides menstrual products in an effort to eradicate period poverty in the Mid-South. In 2021, Sister Supply became a mission of Thistle and Bee to be operated by survivors working in our workforce preparedness and employment program. She is on the Shelby County Nonprofit Committee as co-leader of the Health and Human Services Committee.  Eli graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree in Behavioral Science. She and her husband, Eric, have two girls: one human (Lily) and one perpetual puppy (Sausage).

Jessica Harris, Social Justice Enterprise Assistant Director

Jessica joined Thistle and Bee in 2019 as the Administrative Assistant. She has over 10 years of experience in customer service and administrative work. She is efficient in developing organizational systems and processes to enhance an organization’s functionality. Jessica is a native of Memphis and a proud mother of an amazing daughter (Kassidy). Reading is one of her favorite hobbies.

Martin Jellinek, Accountant

Martin has worked for Thistle and Bee almost since the beginning, maintaining accounting records and providing tools to ensure financial stability. He has a Master of Science in Accounting from Memphis State University and worked at FedEx for 27 years, mostly in accounting. He retired in 2010 and went back to school, earning a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary. He enjoys reading and walking and has a passion for social justice. Martin lives in Cooper Young with his husband Bill and their dachshund Roxy.

Oriana Holmes, Victim Advocate + Special Projects Manager

As an advocate for domestic violence victims, Oriana provides various services to empower survivors, facilitated training within the community and for collaborating partners to raise awareness of gaps in services as well as advocate regarding barriers to safety and self-sufficiency for survivors. She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing Management from The University of Memphis and is nationally certified as a Victim Advocate. As the Special Projects Manager, Oriana works closely with the Executive Director to accomplish shared agency goals.

Rev. Eyleen Farmer, Founder, President Emeritus

Eyleen is a retired Episcopal priest and entrepreneur. She holds academic degrees from the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University and has worked in multiple professional settings including Methodist Alliance Hospice and Calvary Episcopal Church. Toward the end of her tenure at Calvary, she founded Thistle and Bee, a multi-faceted ministry grounded in her belief in the power of love to change the world.

Board of Directors

Robert A. Miller


Susan Lattimore

Vice President

Lacey Mauk


Penelope Huston


Brooks Terry

Past President

Robert O'Connor

Past President

Martha Boyd


Sudha Ganguli, MD


Teresa Exum


Ashley Haynes


Barbara King


Siripong Malasri


Maria Rindosova


Madge Deacon