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 Effectv - a marketing division of Comcast as the Account Executive for North Florida. 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.
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.
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 E. Barrett
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.
Christine Cox, Founder of Happiest Healthiest You, is a Certified Health Coach, Motivator, Educator, and Yoga Instructor whose greatest passion is helping people achieve the happiest, healthiest version of themselves. With a holistic approach, she helps people make sustainable healthy lifestyle changes using her 6 Keys to Health and Wellness: nutrition, fitness, sleep, work-life balance, joy & gratitude, and stress reduction. Christine serves both individuals and organizations via one-on-one coaching, educational workshops, workplace wellness programs and consultation, and yoga instruction. She’s also preparing to publish her first self-help memoir book on the importance of charting your own path to wellness.
Prior to launching her wellness business, Christine enjoyed a 20-year career in the non-profit realm with a variety of organizations honing her skills in communications, public speaking, events management, fundraising, advocacy, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and master’s degree in mass communications, both from the University of Florida, and is excited about any opportunity to combine these skills with her wellness education and experience to bring meaningful learning experiences to audiences of all types.
Christine deeply values community engagement and has volunteered her time and talents with non-profit organizations such as Working Well, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts, Sustainable Tallahassee, the School of Arts and Sciences, The Village Square, Capital City Moms Club, Capital Area Gator Club, and
her own Neighborhood Association.
Eddie Gonzalez Loumiet
With more than 25 years managing multi-million dollar enterprise technology projects, Eddie is an award-winning information technology expert, mentor, recognized speaker, and CEO at Ruvos (formerly named Uber Operations), a leading data, security, and cloud computing company. Eddie played a critical role in the development of the company's strategic growth from 5 individuals to over 100, and he continues this by working with partnerships and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility and growth in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.
Prior to joining Ruvos, Eddie served as Senior Project Manager at Stanford International Bank in Antigua, West Indies. While at Stanford, Eddie managed all facets of the technology at the bank including several high profile banking system implementations in Antigua, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Canada. Eddie, a Cuban-American born in Miami, Florida, attended Loyola University, New Orleans earning a bachelor's degree in Finance and Computer Information Systems. He subsequently received his Executive MBA in 2007 from the University of Miami while working full time.
Eddie is fluent in English, Spanish, has a working knowledge of Portuguese, and has traveled on business to over 20 countries. Eddie is an active member of the Technology industry and a staunch advocate for Early Childhood Education and Small Business communities. He serves in a number of organizations and attends numerous
conferences and technology events serving as an expert on entrepreneurship, project management, and leadership. Eddie was an adjunct professor at Florida A&M University as well as Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. Eddie was named one of Florida's top entrepreneurs under the age of 40 and was profiled in Hispanic Executive
magazine for his work in healthcare technology. Eddie lives in Tallahassee with his wife and children.
Jason Hollister was born and raised in Tallahassee. He is currently the Business Development Manager at Indoor Environmental Management. He graduated from FSU and holds a master’s degree in biblical studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife have two sons and are licensed foster parents. He has worked with young people in different capacities over the past 20 years and has a passion to see the youth in our community flourish.
Christina Lynch has spent more than 14 years of her career propelling small businesses and entrepreneurs forward in their industries. She has a notable track record for utilizing a flexible and non-judgmental approach with her clients and partners that has promoted the success of positive and profitable business affairs for every party involved.
Christina has worked in and with over 200 businesses in a wide range of industries including information technology, public relations, high-tech start-up, media broadcasting, construction, beauty, and insurance. Her passion is assisting and elevating small businesses through her expertise in accounting, human resources, and risk management.
She received her Master’s degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Penn State University. She received her Bachelor's degrees in Accounting, Finance, and Human Resource Management from Florida State University.
Before transitioning full-time as the Chief Executive Officer of Trydent Consulting, Christina was the Vice President of Accounting & Finance for Gabor Financial Solutions. Christina is also a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center at FAMU, winning Regional Consultant of the Year in 2021, the Business Empowerment Director for the Capital City Chamber of Commerce, founding co-coordinator of Herbalists Without Borders of the Big Bend, Treasurer of Red Hills Small Farm Alliance and a board member of American Herbalists Guild and Florida School of Holistic Living.
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.
Dustin is native to Tallahassee. After graduating from Lincoln High School he went on to play football on scholarship at Florida International University as a kicker. In 2010 he returned to Tallahassee where he started App Innovators which is now known as the 223 Agency. As a serial entrepreneur, he owns several other business such as Event Owl, Foodies Takeout & Delivery, and The Health Network. He is married to Lucki Rivest and they have a 5 year old daughter named Georgia. He is looking to serving on the BBBS board in many capacities.
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.
Teresa Slade is a business professional with over 35 years of work experience in business administration and management in for profit and nonprofit organizations. She currently serves as the Director of Student Services at Keiser University Tallahassee. Where she received a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Business Administration.
Teresa is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards. Including The National Council of Negro Women Greater Tallahassee Section and The SHE Academy Incorporated. Her most recent board appointment is with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend. She believes in mentorship and empowering others to meet their full potential.
Teresa and her husband of 35 years Alzo Slade, Sr. have three adult sons. She is the grandmother of two, Micah and Nova.
Jamie Van Pelt
Jamie Van Pelt is the Founder & CEO of The Radley Firm, where he specializes in strategic communication, marketing, and crisis management. With nearly a decade of communications experience, Jamie serves as a trusted strategist and communicator for governments, businesses, associations, non-profits, hospitals and more. Jamie was previously the President of ESPMedia Co. 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.
Valerie is a communications and consulting professional with nearly 20 years of experience in the public and private sector. She is currently the President of Communications and Strategy at Avail Strategies, a highly respected governmental consulting and lobbying firm based in Florida.
She previously served as Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications for one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare at its North Florida Division. The Division’s hospitals and additional sites of care serve nearly 17,000 physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who care for more than 2 million patients each year throughout the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee, North Central Florida and Orlando.
Previously, she served as the Communications Director for the Florida Department of Revenue and prior to that was the Vice President of Communications for The James Madison Institute. Wickboldt received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University where she majored in public relations. She and her husband Steven have three children.