Board of Trustees
In 2015, the Foundation’s founding board acknowledged that inequities in population health stem from deep-rooted systems failures, and that systems-level solutions would not be fast or easy. Their ability to tolerate risk, collaborate with community, and pursue non-traditional leadership has allowed the Foundation to break the model of a traditional funder and develop into a more agile organization.
The current board of trustees represents the community it serves, reflected in the lived experience, professional expertise, industry knowledge, and race of its members. United in their commitment to equity, this group of purpose-driven leaders helps ground the Foundation and advance its mission.
“Never be complacent about the current steps; don’t agree and follow the status quo. Be determined that you are making an indelible impact with great change.”
Ms. Gardner works with national and international mid-sized businesses improving performance through strategic planning, leadership development, and brand management.
Ms. Gardner career experience includes management and marketing roles with global consumer goods brands in the United Kingdom and the United States and as an Operating Partner in private equity.
Locally, Ms. Gardner has served in community leadership roles for The Stuart Society at the Museum of Fine Arts and Canterbury School of Florida and as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Ronald McDonald House. She holds a BS in Business and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Kansas.
Rev. Kenneth F. Irby is the Director of Community Intervention for the St. Petersburg Police Department, where he uses his skills and passion as an educator, pastor and public servant to help children realize their full potential. He previously served with distinction at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in roles that included senior faculty and director of diversity programs, photojournalism associate and founder of photojournalism programs at the Institute. visual journalism leader.
In his long and distinguished career in journalism, Rev. Irby has won numerous awards and pioneered important initiatives as both a teacher and practitioner. He has given back to the profession as an advisor and juror to numerous journalism competitions. In 2016, he was named by the National Press Photographers Association as the first recipient of the John Long Ethics Award, a compliment to his 2007 Sprague Award from the NPPA for Lifetime Achievement. He also was awarded the Louis J. Corsetti Award for Excellence in Journalism and founded the Men in the Making: Right Choices program, focusing on positive role modeling and academic achievement for Black and Latino boys.
Additional examples of his service to youth include directing a nationally recognized middle school academic enrichment and mentoring program called The Write Field, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas County Schools, the St. Petersburg Police Department, and other community partners, which was honored with an American Graduate Citation.
Rev. Irby holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the Boston University School of Public Communications, a multicultural management Master’s fellowship certificate from the Missouri School of Journalism and has completed coursework in cross-cultural ministry from the Dallas Theological Seminary.
Rev. Irby is the 30th pastor of the Historic Bethel AMEC in St. Petersburg, beginning his sixth year of service to the city’s oldest congregation in a continuous location as they celebrate their 125th anniversary. With his wife Karen Juanita, he is parent to four daughters.
Marianne Edmonds serves as a senior managing director of Public Resources Advisory Group (PRAG), an independent financial advisory firm serving state and local governments, their agencies and authorities. During Ms. Edmonds’ career in public finance, she has developed and implemented financing plans for a variety of purposes including general governmental capital projects, utility systems, resource recovery plants, refundings, equipment lease programs, lease purchase programs, affordable housing, and sports facilities.
Ms. Edmonds received a B.A. in Mathematics from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. She is a member of Leadership Florida and has served as a board member of the National Association of Municipal Advisors and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. She is also the founding president and member of the Florida Chapter of Women in Public Finance. Marianne and her husband, Rick, have lived in St. Petersburg since 1982 and have two daughters, Leslie and Jenny.
Stacy Sher Conroy is a fourth-generation St. Pete native, attorney and active community member. She received her B.A. from Yale University, where she double majored in Political Science and International Studies and graduated cum laude. After spending a year living in Washington D.C. and working for an international business consultancy, Stacy attended University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating cum laude and Order of the Coif with her J.D. and a Wharton Certificate of Business and Public Policy.
Stacy and her husband Will – a local attorney and developer – moved back to the Tampa Bay Area in 2008, and Stacy worked as a real estate attorney for an international firm, focusing her practice on retail and office leasing, commercial development, and acquisitions and dispositions.
After her first child was born, Stacy decided to focus her time on raising her children and civic engagement. Having been raised in a family that emphasizes the importance of philanthropy and giving back to your community, Stacy has devoted herself to numerous non-profit organizations over the past 10+ years, with a particular interest in education issues and serving low-income populations. Stacy was a long-time board member of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and Great Explorations Children’s Museum. She also served for 10 years on the Board of Trustees of Temple Beth-El, including several years as Vice President of Youth and Education. Stacy is also dedicated to her children’s school, where she serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and is the co-chair of the Guardian Ad-Litem Holiday Gift Drive for the entire school, providing holiday gifts to over 250 of Pinellas County’s most at-risk children. Most recently, Stacy has taken her love of children and education and become a substitute teacher at the Experiential School of Tampa Bay. Stacy recently joined the Board of Directors of the Florida Holocaust Museum, where she is specifically interested in the mission of educating children using the lessons of the Holocaust in order to teach the worth and dignity of all people.
Stacy and Will are the proud parents of three children and one English Bulldog. In her spare time, Stacy can be found taking her kids to their many sports activities, watching the Tampa Bay Lightning and Rays, reading, and traveling with her family.
Dr. Davis is an experienced business executive and entrepreneur with extensive background and expertise in education program management, business strategy and management in operations, human resources, risk management, finance, facilities, and real estate. He is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator. He is the former Head Start/Early Head Start Director for Bay Area Head Start/Early Head Start programs and former Director of Grants Management with Lutheran Services Florida, Inc. He is a former Visiting Professor of Management at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and former Adjunct Professor of Management and Finance at St. Petersburg College. He is the former CEO of Bay Area Medical Supplies, Inc., and former Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Danka Business Systems headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. He received his Doctor of Business Administration degree from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a specialization in Leadership (Management/Strategy/Governance). He received his M.B.A. from American Intercontinental University in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, with a concentration in Finance, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Technology from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Dr. Davis also attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Closing the Achievement Gap Institute.
He has received numerous leadership awards and served on countless boards and commissions in the community. These include the A Baseball Coalition group, Vice Chair of the City of St. Petersburg Charter Review Commission, and Chair St. Petersburg Housing Authority. He served as Vice Chair of Pinellas County Charter Review Commission 2004, 2006 & 2010. He also served on USF St. Pete Campus Board, Vice Chair of USF Finance Corporation, Chair of USF Property Corporation, Chair Finance Committee Bayfront Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. He was the first African American elected to this post in the Chamber’s history, and the first to lead a major Chamber of Commerce in the Tampa Bay area.
He currently serves as President of Concerned Organization for Quality Education of Black and Brown Students, Inc. (COQEBS), Vice Chair of Pinellas County Unified Personnel Board, and Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area. Dr. Davis is a member of Bethel AME Church, Vice President of Bethel AME Education and Human Services, Inc., and a former United States Air Force Air Traffic Controller with decorated service in Vietnam.
Michael Funsch is a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management in St. Petersburg where he works with a team managing over $1 billion in assets for individuals and business owners. During his career in technology, finance and business, Mr. Funsch has worked for companies in New York, Boston, Chicago, Georgia and Florida. He received a bachelor of electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an MBA in Finance, Accounting and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He was also a college All-American and World, North American and US sailing champion.
Mr. Funsch’s local leadership roles are diverse and wide ranging, including board positions with the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, the Chicago Booth School of Business Alumni Club, the Georgia Tech Suncoast Alumni Association, the St. Pete Sunrise Rotary and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Mr. Funsch also remains very active on the Leadership St. Pete Planning Committee. A native of St. Petersburg and proud Lakewood High Spartan, he and his wife, Lisa, have three children.
Ms. Heller is an engaging, focused and inspiring leader with a proven track record of accelerating growth and profitability of consumer businesses. She brings her unique balance of strategic thought, executional excellence and people development to every leadership opportunity — in business, professional organizations and in the community. She believes that to deliver breakthrough growth in any venue, especially in business, you have to stretch and grow the people responsible for generating that growth. In that way you create the most value for all shareholders. Heller is relentless in her quest to clarify and drive competitive advantages throughout the company. The result is acceleration of top and bottom-line growth, category leadership and market share.
With over 30 years of experience in both Fortune 100 and Private Equity owned enterprises, Heller has driven organizations to exceed results and has earned a reputation for building accountable teams grounded in company mission and collective values in many countries around the globe.
Heller is currently the CoFounder and CEO of the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, a 501(c)(3) with a mission of advancing literacy and closing the achievement gap for underserved students in South St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2016, SPPF launched the MASTR Kids Summer Program to minimize summer learning loss using a curriculum focused on literacy and STEAM activities. Over the seven years since, 80% of students attending the program avoided the summer slide and 55%-75% experienced learning gains in Math and Reading during each summer. All of the remaining children demonstrated learning losses far below the expected levels. The long-term goal is to improve educational experience and outcomes, thereby driving higher high school and college graduation rates and better economic opportunities.
Until January of 2019, Heller served as the EVP and President of Nutricia, the Specialized Nutrition Division of Danone, an organization of over 20,000 employees representing 25% of Net Sales and 50% of profits for the parent company. Under Heller, the business led the industry in performance for three years driven by significant sales growth in China, Asia and Latin America. Previously, Heller served as EVP and President of Merck Consumer Care where she led an organization of approximately 2400 employees generating revenues of over $2B with strong profitability. Heller orchestrated the globalization of the business following merger of MERCK and Schering Plough in fall 2009. Under her leadership the business generated top-tier performance for four years, revenues up over 4% annually, profits up over 6%. Prior to joining MERCK, Heller worked at Johnson & Johnson, Chung’s Gourmet Foods, and Kraft Foods.
Heller serves on the Board of Directors for four public companies: Aramark, Dexcom, Integral Ad Sciences, and Novartis. She is a member of various Board committees including Audit, Compensation and Nominating & Governance. Heller also serves on the Board of Directors for Newman’s Own, a philanthropic business enterprise. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Northwestern University. She serves as a Board Member for a few non-profit organizations.
Heller received an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her BA from Northwestern University. She resides in St. Petersburg, FL.
Dr. Shameka S. Jones is a Regional Clinical Pharmacist at Florida Blue. Her pharmacy career spans over two decades with experience in retail, hospital and managed care pharmacy. In her current role she is responsible for developing strategies to improve patient outcomes, reduce pharmacy costs and provide clinical support for the company’s Medicare plans.
Known for her transformational leadership and dedication to public service, Dr. Jones has distinguished herself as a valued community leader passionate about helping organizations advance. She has a gift for incubating programs infused with creativity and innovation. She believes that embracing diversity makes our communities flourish and stronger. Accordingly, she serves as Vice-Chair of the DEI Committee for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors.
Dr. Jones is a true servant leader committed to many charitable activities and her local community. She has current and past service on the board of directors of Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast, YWCA of Tampa Bay, Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association and the MLK Day of Service Advisory Council.
She is a member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), St. Petersburg (FL) Chapter of The Links, Inc., and immediate past president of the St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. receiving the Southern Region Dr. Yvonne Kennedy Leadership Award in 2022.
She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification and is a graduate of 2013 class of Leadership St. Pete. A fifth-generation native of St. Petersburg, Dr. Jones enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Kelly Kirschner has been the Vice President and Dean of Executive and Continuing Education at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida since 2012. He leads and oversees the division’s Leadership Development Institute, a network affiliate of the Center for Creative Leadership – consistently ranked in the top ten by the Financial Times worldwide survey of executive education; the Mediation Training Institute; Continuing Education, Conferences and Summer Programs; the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI); the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC); Writers in Paradise Writers Conference; and the ELS English Language Center. In addition to these duties, Kirschner also leads the College’s government affairs work at a local, state and federal level.
Raised in Sarasota, Kirschner is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, receiving his BS in Environmental Issues in International Politics and MA in Latin American Studies. At Georgetown, Kirschner worked as the Head Manager for the men’s basketball team under Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson. During his time in Washington, he also was an intern to Assistant to the President, Alexis Herman, in the West Wing of the Clinton White House. Kirschner was a US Peace Corps volunteer in rural Guatemala and later led a USAID Mayan community conservation project in the same region of Guatemala. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks some Mayan Q’eqchi.
In 2011, Kirschner completed four years as the youngest City Commissioner ever elected in Sarasota, including serving two years as Vice-Mayor and one as Mayor.
Prior to joining Eckerd, Kirschner was the director of the SW Florida immigrant-integration non-profit, UnidosNow. He currently is Board Chairman with UnidosNow and serves on a number of boards of community organizations. Kelly is the proud father of two young children, Bodhi and Selby.
Upon his entrance into the workforce, Joe Lugo was surprised to realize at what level bias in the workplace was prevalent. He witnessed the discrimination and bias himself, and also observed many others facing great obstacles because of who they are, which in turn prevented these businesses from reaching their highest potential.
Joe Lugo wholeheartedly believes that culture brings about beauty, and will improve a company in every way. Based on that belief, Joe founded J^3 Creations, which helps develop organizations that realize the value in diversity and inclusion.
As a community leader, proud Puerto Rican, and diversity coach, Joe helps people understand life’s many filters through his non-exclusive mentality, and aids them to best reconsider their filters to shape our outlook on the world. Joe has made his life goal to defend those who have been limited in opportunities because of who they are, and puts his life into his work with the goal toward a more beautiful, inclusive future.
Joe Lugo is a published author and he has co-founded and helped launch the first ever Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Pinellas County and serves on the executive board and as its Vice President. He also serve in various leadership and consulting roles with Mi Gente, Mi Pueblo, The Diversity Council and the Hispanic Leadership Council. He also currently serves on the board for The Foundation for Healthy St. Pete.
He is known for his passion for writing, speaking, consulting, and training, as well as, diversity, equity & inclusion awareness and advocating for the Hispanic/Latin/LatinX and Deaf communities. Joe has a passion for learning as he has completed three degrees and is in the process of completing another. He is a published author with over 20 years of leading, sharing and teaching all that he has learned through his experiences. He has also started a non-profit as a way of giving back to the community through educational services. He lives in Florida with His wife, Sandy, of 30 years and has two adult sons, Matthew and Andrew.
Dr. Kevin B. Sneed is a tenured Professor and the founding Dean of the University of South Florida Taneja College of Pharmacy. He also serves as a Senior Associate Vice-President for USF Health. Dr. Sneed earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology from the University of Central Florida. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy from Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy. He completed an Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice Specialty Residency at Bay Pines Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. He has received numerous clinical and leadership awards and most recently received the Distinguished Fellow National Academies of Practice award from the National Academies of Practice, Chauncey I. Cooper Medal from the National Pharmaceutical Association, and the National Pharmaceutical Association Fellow from the National Pharmaceutical Association. Dr. Sneed is the Executive Director of WE-CARE, a community-based participatory research entity that strives to bridge the gap of health disparities by educating diverse communities about the processes and importance of research participation. Dr. Sneed also serves on the board of several organizations and participates in many community endeavors.
Lorna Taylor is the President and CEO of Premier Eye Care, a leading expert in national managed eye care that provides services and administration of everything from routine vision exams to complex ocular surgical procedures.
Taylor is an accomplished leader, both in directing Florida-based Premier and in making an impact in the community. Premier, ranked as one of “Florida’s Best Companies to Work For” for seven consecutive years, has also been ranked as one of the state’s fastest-growing companies by the Florida Business Journals.
Premier manages full-risk medical and routine ophthalmic care for over 4 million people and is recognized for industry-leading technology-based solutions and a successful corporate culture. Taylor promotes associate engagement through an organizational model that encourages innovation and self-direction to team members, half of whom are millennials.
Taylor and her team embrace a culture where the triple bottom line, “people, planet, profit,” is part of the corporate DNA. Her team is purposeful in hiring and promoting practices. Premier believes that the more diverse the team at all levels of the organization – from entry to senior leadership – the stronger the team. Premier also practices pay equity across the company, including gender, age and ethnicity. This requires an intentional focus with continual review and adjustments. Reflecting the success of this approach, Premier has high associate loyalty and engagement with only a 2% turnover rate, significantly lower than the 22% industry average, and has been ranked nationally as one of the 75 Best Places to Work for Millennials by the Center for Generational Kinetics.
Taylor is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in divinity, concentrating in social ethics. Florida Trend named her as one of St. Petersburg’s movers and shakers, and she was named by Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper as one of the 10 most intriguing people of Tampa Bay.
Dr. Nichelle Threadgill has practiced pediatrics in St. Petersburg, FL for over 20 years. She started in private practice, then in 2008 she began practicing at Community Health Centers of Pinellas (now Evara Health). While at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, Dr. Threadgill has served in multiple capacities including, Health Center Lead, South County provider team lead, and Assistant Director of Pediatrics. Dr. Threadgill was promoted to Chief Medical Officer at Community Health Centers of Pinellas in 2017 where she currently oversees over 80 physicians, dentists, advanced practitioners, and medial ancillary services.
Dr. Threadgill earned her undergraduate degree in biology at Fisk University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then attended Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC earning her Doctorate in Medicine. Upon completion of medical school, she did an internship and residency in Pediatrics at the University of Florida Health Science Center in Jacksonville, FL.
During her tenure as CMO, Dr. Threadgill has worked to ensure a high level of quality standards and care delivery at CHCP. Throughout her tenure, CHCP has been recognized as a national quality leader by HRSA, the organization has obtained NCQA level 3 designation, and CHCP has been accredited by AAAHC as a Patient Centered Medical and Dental Home. Dr. Threadgill is passionate about preventative care for all and works tirelessly to foster healthier patients and communities.
As a youngster new to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1956, Jon Wilson rode his bike all over town. He wanted to feel at home in a city far different than the environment he had experienced nearly 2,000 miles away in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, a farming community. Jon’s new elementary school classmates told him never to ride to St. Petersburg’s south side. That part of town, they said, was where Black people lived, although the term they to describe those people was not as civil. It’s a dangerous place, they said. So the first chance he got, Jon rode his bike to the south side. Later he reported to his classmates. “What’s the big deal? Nobody paid any attention to me.” His friends just shook their heads and walked away. Their reaction puzzled Jon. But it may have been an early spark that kindled an interest in the entire St. Petersburg community and how the people in its various neighborhoods related to one another.
Wilson has lived in St. Petersburg since 1956, attending Clearview Elementary, Lealman Junior High School, and Dixie Hollins High School. Wilson attended St. Petersburg Junior College and the University of Florida before enlisting in the Army in 1966. He served on active duty for nearly four years, including a 13-month tour with the Seventh U.S. Cavalry in South Korea, 1968-69. Upon his return to civilian life, Wilson enrolled at the University of South Florida, most often taking classes at USF St. Petersburg. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degrees in journalism studies and liberal arts.
He is the author or co-author of six books. He worked as a reporter and editor for 37 years at the St. Petersburg Times and the Evening Independent and for 11 years at Florida Humanities as communications consultant.
In 2021, Wilson received from Mayor Rick Kriseman a Key to the City of St. Petersburg citing his inclusive chronicling of the city’s history. He has also received lifetime achievement awards from the National Council of Negro Women-St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section and from the Carter G. Woodson Museum of African American History.
His primary hobbies are working out in local gymnasiums and running. Though hardly fast, he has completed long-distance races including the Boston and Marine Corps Marathons, the Vermont 100-miler, and the London to Brighton Road race. He has won a state age-group championship at 1500 meters.
But Jon’s pride and joy is his family. At this writing, he has been married for 47 years to the incomparable Becky Day Wilson, with whom he has two exquisite daughters. From a previous marriage, he has a bold and talented son who is a lifetime musician. His children have blessed him with six grands – four boys and two girls, all of whom are full of surprises and a constant delight.
In closing, Jon would like to express an attitude toward life he tries (though not always successfully) to live up to: Gradatim ferociter, or step by step ferociously. Never, ever give up.