Cindy A. Curtis retired as Deputy City Manager for Virginia Beach after spending 33 years in municipal governments across Virginia. Cindy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Davidson College. She studied urban and regional planning at the graduate level at Virginia Tech. Cindy also serves as a board member of the Virginia Parks and Recreation Foundation, Hampton Roads United Way Campaign Committee and the Hospice House of South Hampton Roads. Cindy passionately believes that through servant leadership we can make a difference in our community!
BOARD VICE CHAIR
Jennifer Duffy is Senior Vice President of investments at Blue Ocean Wealth Advisors of Raymond James. She is a former board member of the Virginia Higher Education Tuition and Trust Authority and is active in many community organizations and projects. She is a coach for Bank On, the Mayor of Virginia Beach’s financial fitness program.
Donna S. Morris is Executive Vice President for Reinvent Hampton Roads. Donna is a Past Chair of the Virginia Beach Community Services board and currently serves on the Virginia Beach Social Services Advisory Board. She brings decades of professional and volunteer experience to her role on the Executive Board for the Foundation.
Barbara A. Brinson formerly served as the Youth Opportunities Coordinator for the city of Virginia Beach. She is a former board member of Tidewater Youth Services Commission and served many years on the Opportunity Inc., Workforce Development Board Youth Services Council. Barbara’s experience in facilitating collaborative relationships and partnerships among diverse stakeholders will support her role as a TWC board member.
William R. Brown, CPA, is the owner of The Brown Group which provides financial management consultation services. Bill is a former Chairman of the Virginia Beach Community Services Board and former member of the Virginia Beach Minority Business Council. He has served on many not-for-profit boards and is still active with non-profit entities.
Melissa “Mel” Goodrich is the Vice President and Chief People Officer of Healthcare Delivery for Sentara Healthcare Mel is a seasoned Human Resources Executive with more than 30 years of experience working in the healthcare, retail, and workforce staffing industries. In 2020, Mel joined Sentara Healthcare, one of the largest health systems in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and among the top 20 largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the country, with 30,000 employees, 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, and the Sentara Health Plans division which serves more than 1.2 million members in Virginia and Florida. As a strong business leader who drives accountability and results through talent, transparency, and collaboration, Mel oversees the human resource activities across all Sentara hospitals, Sentara Medical Group, Sentara Enterprises, and the Sentara corporate departments of finance and community outreach. Mel is a trusted advisor to senior leaders and aligns the Human Resources Business Partner function to the broader Human Resources and organizational strategic goals.
Her expertise as a Co-Active trained executive coach and her background in workforce planning and organizational development, has been instrumental in improving retention and enhancing engagement.
Russell J. Held is retired as Vice President of Economic Development for the Port of Virginia. Russell has also served as a board member of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems, Virginia Economic Developers Association and Virginia Beach Vision, as well as serving as a CIVIC Scholars mentor. Russell brings fund raising, promotion and public speaking experience to the TWC Board.
Donald V. Jellig is an independent business consultant. Don retired from his position as Vice President of Sentara Health Care and has served as the Chair of the Community Services Board and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. He is a past Chair of the Virginia Beach Development Authority. Don brings years of executive experience to his role on TWC’s Board of Directors.
Martha McClees, a lifelong resident of Virginia Beach, is the Executive Director of Virginia Beach Vision, Inc., a nonpartisan, issue-oriented business organization. Having previously served as the Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator for the City of Suffolk and as the Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, she provides a long working affiliation with elected officials, area business and community leaders. Backed by 35 years in non-profit administration, Martha is versed in volunteer coordination, issues management, community advocacy and Board development. Martha serves as a City Council appointee to the VB 2040 – Community Coalition. She recently concluded Council appointed terms on the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission and the Social Services Advisory Board on which she served as chairperson. Martha recently returned to the Board of Directors of the Together We Can Foundation, having previously served on its founding board. Additionally, she currently serves on the boards of the Future of Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Chamber – VB Division Board, the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival – Executive Committee, the ViBe Cultural District Board, the Zeiders’ American Dream Theater Board, and the Virginia Musical Theatre Board. With specific relation to community organizing, Martha served part-time as the Executive Director for Light Rail Now, Inc. and oversaw the marketing, volunteer outreach and campaign financing activities.
Joanie Needham has been in the Banking Industry for over 40 years in Hampton Roads with the most recent 20 years in the Business and Commercial Lending arena. She has served on several committees of various organizations over the years. She is delighted to be an active board member of Together We Can Foundation and looks forward to working toward the goal of helping to educate and inform our community about the plight of disconnected youth and the work of this wonderful and worthwhile organization.
Cassandra Thompson is a customer-focused and highly influential leader, with more than 20 years of progressive Human Resources leadership experience in healthcare, media, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, education, publishing, aviation and transportation. Demonstrated success aligning Human Resources strategies to business goals and developing critical talent to deliver business results and improve processes and systems. Cassandra is currently a Human Resources Business Partner at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.
The Honorable Winship C. Tower (Ret.) is a former Judge and Chief Judge for the City of Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, she brings a solid commitment to the welfare of vulnerable youth. Ms. Tower is a graduate of Hollins University and the The University of Virginia School of Law. She was a former partner and Past Chair of The Family Law Practice Group at Kaufman and Canoles, P.C. She is a Certified Mediator for the Supreme Court of Virgina and currently works for The McCammon Group.
Nancy M. Welch M.D., has served as a public health director in Virginia since 1976. Currently, she is the Director of the Chesapeake Health Department and the Interim Director of Western Tidewater Health District. She received her B.S. at Lynchburg College, Degree in Medicine at Duke University and M.B.A. at Old Dominion University. Her Pediatric Residency and Masters of Health Administration were at the University of Colorado. She is board certified in both Pediatrics and Public Health/ Preventive Medicine; Dr. Welch is also a Retired Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Dr. Welch’s book, “Healing Emotional Wounds: A Story of Overcoming the Long Hard Road to Recovery from Abuse and Abandonment,” was recently published and chronicles the story of her adoption of two Ukrainian children and their struggles to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges.
Ninah Pearson is the board liaison with Virginia Beach Human Services. She is a social worker in Virginia Beach working with foster care youth.
Tom Crockett has served as the Executive Director of the Together We Can Foundation since 2010, bringing a lifetime of experience in education and at-risk youth populations. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Old Dominion University and a Master’s in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community college and taught at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia for five years in the 1980’s. In 1990, Tom left teaching to work as an arts and education consultant to the Polaroid Corporation. He helped develop an innovative national business-to-education marketing partnership that became known as the Polaroid Education Program. Tom also served as an education programming consultant for National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, USA Today, and Walmart and ran an innovative arts-based mentoring program for teens in Norfolk City called Art Quest. From 2004 to 2009, he served as the Associate Director and then Executive Director for Young Audiences of Virginia—using innovative arts programming to solve educational and social challenges. He is an avid photographer and a published author and shares three children with his wife, Kelly.
Harvest Bellante has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.F.A. in film and television production from Chapman University with advanced studies in training and educational technology and non-profit management. In California, Harvest worked as an Intervention Specialist for 4th and 5th grade in the Tustin Unified School District. She spent her summers managing a youth camp—Pirates’ Cove Beach Camp—where 55 youth, ages 4-13, spent their summers in the sun and sand every day. Since moving to Virginia in 2009, she has continued her work with local youth at Together We Can Foundation and she teaches Filmmaking and Screenwriting at ODU.
DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
Tom Marshall holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University in addition to a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. He comes with over twenty-five years of non-profit development experience working for the Pennsylvania Resources Council, Fish America Foundation, The Forest History Society in Durham, NC, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Foundation, the Baltimore Medical System and serving as the Executive Director of the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation.
SMART TRANSITIONS PROGRAM MANAGER
Heather Fine is our new full-time staff member on loan from the Barry Robinson Center. She has a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University. Heather has been a public school educator for the past seven years, teaching mostly 10th and 12th grade English and AP Literature & Composition. During her time as an educator, she served as a high school debate coach and pageant choreographer. An avid reader and literacy advocate, Heather is also a content curator for a local independent bookshop and serves on the Virginia Readers’ Choice Selection Committee for the Virginia State Literacy Association.
SMART TRANSITIONS PROGRAM INSTRUCTOR
DeMia Lindsey-Mitchell is an accomplished educator, self-published author, and illustrator who loves inspiring young minds. As a native of the Park Place area of Norfolk, Virginia, she felt a strong desire to make a difference in her community. As a result, she began her journey through mentoring and teaching. DeMia is a former art teacher from Norfolk Public Schools and holds an associate degree in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and a master’s degree in education. Her devotion and love for children keep her motivated to help change lives.