Board of Directors
From our Staff to our Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a compassionate and dedicated group of individuals on our side that are willing to do whatever it takes to help change children’s lives for the better.
Blake Dowling is Chief Executive Officer for Aegis Business Technologies headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida. He has been with the firm more than 10 years. In the past, he has worked with Platinum selling recording artist Sister Hazel, as an artist manager. In addition to his duties with Aegis, Blake is a regional columnist contributing business and technology columns to the Tallahassee Democrat, Influence Magazine, Context Florida and others. He enjoys spending time with his family (a bunch of cats, beautiful wife Jeanne and 2 step children). He can be reached at [email protected] or www.twitter.com/aegissales
Ella Schwarz Parisi
Ella joined the board of directors in 2018. Currently, she works at Comcast Spotlight as the National and Regional Sales Manager for Tallahassee and Panama City. Prior to Tallahassee, Ella worked in Miami, NYC and Detroit (her hometown). She is married to Dan, is the mother of two grown daughters, and enjoys running with her dog BlueBelle. Ella’s interest in BBBS was sparked by her daughters mentorship in the program.
Shawn is the Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President for The First, A National Banking Association, with 20 plus years of banking experience in various positions. Shawn is a strong believer in community, prayer, and family. She is passionate about youth empowerment and financial education. Outside of work, Shawn enjoys reading and spending time with her husband Travis, 3 boys, and family & friends.
Matthew Williams is the owner and managing partner at the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, PLLC. He graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2010 and went on to obtain his Law Degree from Florida State University College of Law in 2013. Attorney Williams also studied abroad at Oxford University in England while in law school. He started off his career as a trial lawyer for the Public Defender’s Office before moving into private practice in 2016, where he focused on jury trials, litigation and courtroom advocacy. He volunteered with the Leon County School Board while in law school and throughout the beginning of his legal career as well. He’s completed internships with the Federal Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the Innocence Project, and the Children’s Advocacy Center, and he joined the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend in 2017. Attorney Williams founded the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, PLLC, in 2020, and he currently focuses primarily on criminal defense, personal injury and wrongful death matters.
Immediate Past Chair
Brian joined the board of directors in 2016. Since 2008, Brian has been providing tax compliance and consulting services and currently works for Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs. A graduate of Florida State University with a Master's degree in Accounting, Brian has experience working with corporate, not-for-profit, trust, and high-net worth individual clients. He has provided services to clients in the automotive, real estate, construction, medical, manufacturing, and wholesale import/export industries. Brian also has specific experience working with clients on international issues and litigation support.
Nathan Adams IV
Nathan "Nate" Adams IV joined our board in 2017. He is a partner at Holland & Knight practicing in complex commercial and appellate litigation with a special emphasis on healthcare, education and hospitality, as well as nonprofit and religious organizations. Dr. Adams is a Florida Bar Board Certified Education Lawyer. Before joining Holland & Knight, Dr. Adams worked for the Florida Executive Office of the Governor and the Florida Department of Education, including the Division of Florida Colleges and Board of Governors.
Matt Brown is the General Manager of WTXL-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee. Matt has over two decades of experience in local television stations, including in Tampa where he was previously news director. During his four years in Tampa, Matt volunteered as a Big Brother for the Tampa Bay BBBS and also served on the Hillsborough County Leadership Council for BBBS.
Matt began his career as a reporter and anchor, eventually serving dual roles as news director and primary anchor until 2006. Of his 24 years in local TV, Matt has held a management role for 20 of those years. He has experience in growing diverse & talented teams, creating collaborative workplaces and achieving ratings and revenue success.
Matt is a graduate of the 2018-2019 class for the Broadcast Leadership Training program, an MBA-level executive training program put on by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. Matt and his wife Jackie have two daughters in college.
Samantha is a Financial Advisor with Raymond James in Tallahassee, FL and has been with the firm over 14 years. She moved to Tallahassee in 2006 to finish her degree while working for the State of FL in the Division of Elections. She’s a graduate of Flagler College with her BA in Business Administration and Management. Being a native of Apalachicola, FL she enjoys spending as much time as possible returning to her hometown to spend time on the water with her family and friends. She recently moved to Crawfordville, FL where she lives with her family.
Anthony Jones is an experienced academic dean with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and joined our board in 2020. Responsibilities include the day-to-day operational oversight and management of one of the largest academic divisions on the campus of Tallahassee Community College. Currently, Anthony serves as director for Tallahassee Science Festival. Skilled in Program Evaluation, Academic Advising, Curriculum Development, Distance Learning, and Student Development. Strong education professional pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy focused in Educational Leadership and Administration, from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Lee, a Florida State University graduate, is the Regional Vice President of Growth for OneDigital Insurance. Lee has almost two decades of experience in the financial services industry. He has completed both the Registered Health Underwriter (RHU®) and the Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC®) designation programs for the American College, as well as FINRA 6, 63 & 65 registrations. A native of Tallahassee, Lee has a passion for history and enjoys playing golf. He and his wife enjoy traveling, FSU sporting events, and spending time with their son Charlie and Daughter Clara.
Joseph McGehee is a lawyer at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Joe attended Florida State University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Greek, Latin, and Classical Civilizations with a minor in German. He received his Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law, where he was the founder and president of the Education Law and Policy Society. He speaks German and writes in German, Latin, and Greek. Joseph is also a Big within our program and is a passionate advocate for community involvement on all levels.
Adrian Mood is an Assistant State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida and currently prosecutes felony cases in Leon County. Adrian attended Howard University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He then received his Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law. Adrian is passionate about trial advocacy and is a coach for the FSU College of Law Trial Team. He is a Certified Public Manager and a member of the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court.
Mary works with Prime Meridian Bank and was previously a Little in Jacksonville. In addition to her role at the Bank, Mary serves on the board for the Downtown Business Association, Tallahassee Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Capital City Rowing and KUMC Youth Council. Her past involvement includes serving on the board of March of Dimes. She is married and has three children.
Jarrett Terry is an Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Florida State University. Just prior to this appointment, Dr. Terry had served as an Assistant Vice President for Extended Programs in Academic Affairs at Clayton State University. Terry has worked in the field of higher education for over 10 years. In addition to his service in the office of Academic Affairs at Clayton State University, he served as an assistant dean, an engineering faculty member, coordinator for several outreach programs, leader for student success initiatives, transfer program coordinator, and academic mentor to underrepresented minority programs. Outside of work, he enjoys watching sports, reading comic books, and spending time with his wife and 3 children.
Jamie Van Pelt
Jamie Van Pelt is the President of ESPMedia Co. where he specializes in strategic communication, marketing, and crisis management for a diverse clientele. With years of experience and influence, Jamie serves as a trusted strategist and communicator for governments, businesses, associations, political campaigns, non-profits, hospitals, and more. An emerging force in business and politics in the state of Florida, Jamie was named a “Top 20 Under 40” by the Tallahassee Network of Young Professionals, and ESPMedia was the only firm named as a “Winner” of the 2020 Election by the Tallahassee Democrat. Florida Politics agreed, saying, “there was a bright spot for Florida Democrats after all. Jamie Van Pelt and his team at ESPMedia went 4-0 for their clients this cycle…” An active community servant, Jamie is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 34. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Challenger Learning Center, Elder Care Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is a member of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce Leadership Team. Jamie earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2012 and Master of Public Affairs degree in 2014 from Western Carolina University. While in school Jamie excelled as a standout athlete, twice earning Academic All-America Honors in Track and Field and leading the Catamounts to four Southern Conference Championships while serving as Captain and a Graduate Assistant Coach.
Brian joined the Board of Directors in 2018. Brian has been in the financial services industry since 2002 and currently works as a Financial Advisor with The Robinson Group at Merrill Lynch in Tallahassee. Brian has provided wealth management and investment advisory services to non-profits, businesses, and high net worth individuals and families and has made Tallahassee his home for more than 20 years since moving here to attend Florida State University. His interest in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend began when his children entered elementary school and he saw first-hand the need for positive role models in the lives of so many of their classmates.