The Foundation Team is composed of individuals who have devoted their personal and professional lives to advancing the equity movement.
Innovation is supported by the pursuit of diverse thoughts and ideas, and the Foundation team has been consciously curated to include people from a variety of backgrounds. Staff range in age from 20s-60s, many with deep Pinellas and St. Petersburg roots. The team has experience from public, private, faith and non-profit sectors, and many have achieved the highest certifications possible for their fields. 56% of Staff are BIPOC, and there is representation from colleagues of color throughout all levels of power and decision making.
Years of Combined Experience in Equity Work
Full-time Foundation Staff Members
Hours of Collective Equity Training Completed
The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg Team
Joshua is a dedicated leader in the DEI field, and brings more than 10 years of racial equity work to his position as Innovation Officer at the Center for Health Equity.
In this role, Joshua builds and sustains community relationships while developing engagement pathways for people to get the learning, connections, and resources they need to co-create racial equity solutions. He leans on his background as a professional trainer and facilitator, as well as his long-standing involvement in community.
Before joining the team at the Center, Joshua worked in the Pinellas County school system and focused his efforts on addressing and eliminating barriers for Black children and LGBTQ+ youth. He is the co-founder of Green Book of Tampa Bay, Inc., a non-profit organization that increases Black economic vitality in Tampa Bay by connecting Black-owned businesses to new consumers, development resources, and a network of collaboration opportunities. He is also an active member of Temple Beth El, where he currently serves as a board member and Social Justice Committee member.
Originally from Oklahoma City, Joshua has been a Tampa Bay resident for more than 20 years. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida and a certified Courageous Conversations About Race affiliate practitioner. Outside of work, Joshua enjoys camping with his family, collecting vinyl, going to concerts, and watching college football.
Lisa L. Brody, Esquire, is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Foundation. She serves as a key member of the executive leadership team responsible for strategy development and deployment, and directly oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking, strategic initiatives portfolio, and research and education activities. In her work, she ensures the highest and best deployment of strategies, leveraging opportunities of timing and momentum to maximize the Foundation’s impact.
Before joining the Foundation team, she served as the Assistant Deputy Director and Managing Attorney for the St. Petersburg Office of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., the largest nonprofit public-interest law firm in the Tampa Bay Area. Since 2013, Ms. Brody has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Paralegal Studies Program at St. Petersburg College. Ms. Brody is a licensed Florida Attorney (1995) and a member of the Florida Bar, St. Petersburg Bar and Fred G. Minnis Bar Associations. She has held numerous Bar positions and presently serves on the Bar’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
As a graduate of Leadership Tampa Bay, she has a long history of board service and community involvement. She currently serves as the vice chair of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and as a member of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board. She has also served on the Pinellas Opportunity Council, the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas Inc., the Bayfront Hospital Board of Trustees, Pinellas Community Foundation, and Clothes to Kids. She also was a member and board member of the Junior League of St. Petersburg and presently serves as the International Trends and Services Facet Chair for the St. Petersburg Chapter of the Links, Inc.
In addition to board service, Ms. Brody has a long history of active involvement in multiple organizations within the community. She has served as Girl Scout Leader, a member of the City of St. Petersburg Nuisance Abatement Board, Mayoral Appointment to City of St. Petersburg Affordable Housing Oversight Committee (2018) and presently is a member of the Bay Pines VA Community Engagement Board. She has also held many roles as a parent in Pinellas County Schools.
Ms. Brody is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the oldest Black Greek Letter organization founded by African American college-educated women. She has held numerous positions within the organization and presently serves as the immediate past president of the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter in St. Petersburg, Florida and the South Atlantic Region Undergraduate Chapter Interest Liaison. Her personal motto is “…to whom much is given much is required.”
Ms. Brody has received several community recognitions for her professional and civic service to our community. She has received Power Broker Magazine’s Silk Recognition for Service (2018), the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American History Museum’s First Lady in African-American History Recognition (2015), the Heroes Among Us Award from the St. Petersburg Bar Association (2010), the St. Petersburg Housing Authority Community Partner Award and the 2023 Florida Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Legacy Award. She was also a finalist for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Community Service Woman of The Year (2010).
Ms. Brody received her B.A. Degree in political science from the University of Oregon and her J.D. from the University of Oregon in 1995. She has also earned a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Tampa. She is a life member of the University of Oregon Alumni Association and a charter board member and has served as the board secretary of the University of Oregon Black Alumni Network.
She is married to Carl E. Brody, Jr, Esq., and the proud mother of daughter Mara and a son, Clayton.
“Whatever gifts you are believed to have, are not yours. They were gifted to you for a finite amount of time, to be passed on and used in service of others.” These words are a daily affirmation for Marcus A. Brooks, and he takes them to heart in his role as Executive Director at the Center for Health Equity.
In this role, Marcus leads a diverse team of equity advocates who are all deeply invested in St. Petersburg, both personally and professionally. Together, they work to create a space and experience that fosters cross-community collaboration to advance racial equity and improve the overall health of Pinellas County.
Marcus is a fourth-generation St. Pete resident who split his youth between Clearwater and South St. Petersburg. His upbringing was a contrasting racial experience that ultimately gave him the perspective and insight that shapes who he is today.
A passionate advocate for this work, Marcus brings over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world to this position, along with a wide range of experience—from racial equity facilitation and partnership cultivation to fundraising and board development.
Marcus is a graduate of Florida State University and resides in St. Petersburg with his family.
Harold “Scamp” Bryant Jr. brings more than 15 years of community programming and events management experience to his role as Community Experience Coordinator at the Center for Health Equity. His background in political campaign marketing and grassroots organizing, coupled with his long-standing community relationships, makes Harold an asset to the daily operations and strategic mission of the Center.
Harold is a third-generation St. Petersburg resident from a family with deep community ties. He’s been helping co-create bold ideas here for more than 20 years—as a business owner and consultant, as well as on behalf of other organizations. Prior to his role at the Center, he was the Florida Statewide and Southeast Regional Director of Community Grassroots for H. Strategies, and the Facilities Manager and Event Coordinator for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. Harold is a graduate of St. Petersburg College, the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.
When he’s not making moves in our community, Harold enjoys cooking, spending time with his kids, and taking in his part of paradise in our city. #cantbeatstpete
Belinda Childs is the Controller at the Foundation where she serves in the leading staff role for financial operations, financial reporting, and HR operations. She also supports the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer in financial analysis, contract execution, and administrative functions.
Belinda has over 20 years of experience in healthcare and nonprofit organizations. Previously, she was the Accounting Manager at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Assistant Controller at Largo Medical Center, Financial Analyst at St. Anthony’s Healthcare, and Financial Analyst and Senior Financial Analyst at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. She also worked at the Foundation for 5 years—from its inception in 2013 through 2018—in the roles of Lead Accountant, Director of Finance, and Consultant before returning in 2021 as the Controller.
Belinda holds a Bachelor of Science and Fifth Year in Accounting from the University of South Florida.
Kyandra Darling was born into a family of community servants. As a third-generation St. Petersburg resident, she carries on her family’s legacy of service in her role as Innovation Officer at the Center for Health Equity.
In this role, Kyandra builds relationships across the community, helping to connect organizations, projects, and resources. She acts as a strategic partner, guiding idea development and innovation, identifying and deploying necessary support, and pushing initiatives into action. Through her work with the Center, Kyandra engages new audiences in equity work while deepening the connection between local leaders and the people they serve.
She brings policy and political experience from her previous positions in the Office of City Council and Florida’s 13th District Congressional Office, and a marketing background from Red Bull North America.
Kyandra is a graduate of the University of South Florida, a proud Gibbs High School alumna, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and a graduate of Leadership St. Pete Class of 2022. Outside of work, she can be found enjoying St. Pete’s green spaces with her young son and their dog.
Gaylynn has been with the Foundation since 2012 in various administrative roles and loves the challenges of learning and growing with the team.
Nathan “Nate” Gil is responsible for grant administration and compliance as well as data management and maintenance across platforms for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. He also assists in streamlining processes and maximizing the potential for technology solutions, which is imperative in advancing the mission of the Foundation.
Nate is a native Floridian, of Mexican descent, with deep ancestral roots in South Texas and Northern Mexico. He has been trained in the Courageous Conversation About Race Protocol 1 and 2 and attended the Pacific Education Group Latinx Summit in 2019. Nate also attended the 2019 Foundation staff tour of civil rights museums and historical sites to advance his understanding of the history of race equity and social change.
He has been a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee of Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG), a philanthropy sector support organization, since 2021.
Nate holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of South Florida with a focus in Cultural and Public Health and earned an MBA from St. Leo University in 2021.
As communications manager, Barbara is responsible for driving marketing and communication strategies and their execution. She assists with the communications and campaign needs of internal departments and is responsible for recommending and developing communications channels that inspire people to engage with the Foundation’s mission. In this work, Barbara collaborates closely with the executive director of the Center for Health Equity as well as Foundation leadership and external partners. With a passion for place-based change, she is driven by a deep belief that racial equity benefits everyone.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Barbara served as a marketing communications officer at the University of South Florida, a publications editor and associate program director at Community Foundation Boulder County, and the development director of Mothers on the Move in the South Bronx. Early in her career, she learned volumes as a daily newspaper reporter and magazine editor. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University.
When she’s not working, Barbara enjoys spending time outside with her husband and daughter and their squirrel-obsessed rescue terrier.
Dean Hendrix brings more than 38 years of experience in hospitality, events management, and audio-visual technologies to his role as Operations Manager at the Center for Health Equity. He is responsible for managing the Center’s facilities, technology, and logistics, helping to ensure events and meetings at the Center are well-supported with appropriate and timely resources.
In his previous positions, Dean served as the Operations Manager for Blumberg Communications and Total Audio Visual Services, and Regional Director for Audio Visual Headquarters, Caribiner International, PSAV, and Video Light & Sound.
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Dean is a graduate of the University of South Carolina at Aiken. He has been in St. Petersburg since 1997 and considers the ‘Burg his home.
Dr. Bilan Joseph is the Strategic Initiative Manager at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. In this role, Dr. Joseph is responsible for supporting the execution of the Foundation’s non-grant portfolio of strategic programmatic initiatives, which advance our mission of achieving health equity through racial equity.
Dr. Joseph has extensive experience in collective impact, strategic planning and implementation, and program and project management. She is also trained in Courageous Conversations About Race Protocol and has a certification in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion from the University of South Florida.
Prior to joining the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Dr. Joseph served as the Executive Director of Thrive by Five, a network of over 25 partners working across diverse sectors to collectively impact the percentage of Pinellas children entering kindergarten holistically “ready” to be there.
Dr. Joseph is also a licensed educator with over a decade of experience in secondary and post-secondary education. In her personal time, she facilitates conversations about race locally and nationally through the lens of faith and racial reconciliation. This includes designing and facilitating personalized Whiteness at Work debriefing sessions for business leaders and their staff members.
Dr. Joseph holds a Doctor of Education degree specializing in Reading and Literacy from Capella University. She also has a Master of Education degree in Teaching and Administration from Jones International University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in secondary education from Georgia State University.
In this role, Carl R. Lavender, Jr. guides community investments including grants, partnerships and program design, in alignment with the Foundation’s mission of racial and health equity. Lavender works with interim co-CEO Carol Martin Brown to plan, assess, and direct Foundation strategy and resources to advance racial equity to achieve health equity in Pinellas County. He will serve as a resource and sounding board for staff and community partners seeking the most effective and impactful ways to build a racial equity movement in the region.
Lavender’s previous roles with the Foundation include Senior Director of Programs and Chief Engagement Advocate Officer. He has made a notable career leading nonprofit organizations in Pinellas County for the past 20 years and served in high level community advancement and fundraising positions in Chicago and Cleveland nonprofits prior to that.
Lavender holds a bachelor’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from The Ohio State University and a master’s in Human Services – Non-Profit Organizational Management (cum laude) from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
Carol Martin Brown co-leads Foundation activities in her role as interim Co-CEO with Carl Lavender; in her role as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, she oversees finance, investments, human resources, technology, and administration. Carol is a senior financial leader with experience in the financial services industry, nonprofit sector and social enterprise. She previously served in Chief Financial Officer roles at The New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit based in Brooklyn, New York; at Innovative Education at the University of South Florida; and at Transamerica Fund Advisors in St. Petersburg. Early in her career, Carol worked in New York in public accounting at Ernst & Young and in financial management and technology roles at Morgan Stanley Trust Company and J.P. Morgan Chase Investor Services.
She is a Certified Public Accountant and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Dr. Susie Paterson (she/her) is the Research and Evaluation Manager at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. In this role, Dr. Paterson is responsible for research and evaluation efforts in partnership with community groups and organizations, as well as those led by the Foundation. In addition, she will drive the learning strategy of the Foundation through a racial equity lens.
Dr. Paterson is a trained community psychologist with over a decade of experience conducting community-based research and program evaluations. She approaches her work through a participatory, justice-centered lens, believing that community members most impacted by social and economic problems, programs, and policies should be leading and designing community solutions. Dr. Paterson has expertise in a variety of methods including mixed-methods research, community-based participatory research, and social network analysis. She has worked with organizations and community groups on a variety of topics including homelessness, arts and music equity, youth leadership, community and civic engagement, and has given presentations both locally and nationally on her work.
Prior to joining the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Dr. Paterson worked as a Senior Program Evaluator for the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County and cofounded and operated a research and evaluation consulting firm, Collaborators Consulting Group.
Dr. Paterson earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Smith College, her Master’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Community Social Psychology, and her PhD in Community Well-Being from the University of Miami.
Julie is engaged in a portfolio of initiatives that includes food systems, housing and homelessness, mental health, environmental justice, equitable economic development, workforce development, education ecosystem, equity in journalism, and equity in the arts. Julie helps create collaborative initiatives through the facilitation of convenings and projects, connecting funded partners to resources, and identifying funding opportunities and partners. She describes her work as a balance of community engagement and listening while challenging the traditional status quo of system archetypes to achieve race equity.
Julie is trained in Courageous Conversation About Race Protocol (sessions 1 and 2) and Facilitation for Social Change Masterclass. She also attended the 2019 Foundation staff tour of civil rights museums and historical sites to advance his understanding of the history of racial equity and social change.
Julie is a seasoned grants writer, special project manager and administrator with an extensive record of service in the Tampa Bay area. Her prior roles include grant writer and STEAM Manager for the Tampa Housing Authority and Vice President of Resource Development and Special Projects at the Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa, Inc. She also worked for the sheriff’s office for ten years.
She holds a B.A. in criminology from the University of South Florida and a master’s in public administration from Hodges University in Fort Myers. She is also a graduate of Leadership Lee County – Class of 1999 and Leadership St. Pete – Class of 2019.
Julie serves as a Board Member for the Innovation District. She also serves on the Homeless Leadership Alliance Funder’s Council as well as the St Petersburg Food Policy Council. Most recently, Julie was inducted into the Florida Economic Security Cohort, a cohort of Florida and national foundations hosted by Florida Philanthropic Network and Florida Policy Institute that will focus on building capacity for policy and advocacy efforts related to economic security.
In her downtime, you can find Julie in creative art spaces, kayaking, championing mental wellness, or spending time with family, her partner, friends, and dogs.
Stephanie is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida’s (USF) School of Social Work and a Certified Wellness & Health Coach (CWHC). She started her doctoral journey after diverse professional experiences, including being a professional athlete and working as a licensed social work supervisor at a child welfare agency in Philadelphia.
Stephanie believes in dedicating her time to pressing societal issues. For example, she recently finished serving two consecutive terms as an executive committee member for the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports (ASWIS), which focuses on advocacy for athlete mental health through a social work lens and uses sport as a tool for development. She also volunteers for the Arthritis Foundation nationally and locally through the organization’s Tampa Bay chapter. As a member of the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (MDF) program (and the only social work graduate student in her fellowship cohort), Stephanie founded a monthly support group for USF fellows to build a sense of community among this diverse group of Black/Hispanic doctoral students on the USF campus.
Stephanie is passionate about promoting positive health, mental health, and lifestyle outcomes for various populations including minoritized racial and ethnic groups, athletes, and adults. Her research has focused on health and well-being and sport social work; her dissertation research specifically aims to explore social role participation, identity, and satisfaction with life among adults diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
Stephanie enjoys staying active, spending time with family, the beach and outdoors, traveling, digital art, and going out to eat (Stephanie considers herself a “foodie”).
Jaihde Williams serves as the Foundation’s Technology Coordinator. In this role, she manages and maintains the overall configuration and administration of the Foundation’s event management platform and tends to the day-to-day technological needs of the Foundation staff. Jaihde is excited about growing in the Foundation, and in life.
In her free time, Jaihde serves as the president of the Second Chance Empowerment Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving quality of life for socio-economically disadvantaged people through financial literacy, tutoring, life skills training, and more. Jaihde is also training to be ordained as a minister, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandfather.
Jaihde holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. When she’s not working, she enjoys singing, dancing, visiting new places, and spending time in nature.
In her role as Senior Administrator for both the Center for Health Equity and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Kewa Wright provides high level executive support to the Executive Director and interim co-CEOs. Kewa ensures smooth operation and communication between leadership teams, staff, the board, and the community. She also serves as secretary/parliamentarian to the Board of Trustees. Kewa brings 20+ years of experience as a Legislative Aide for the City of St. Petersburg City Council’s Office, where she served more than 30 council members during her time there.
Kewa comes from a family active in the community and passionate about social change. She is a third-generation St. Petersburg resident with a lifetime of local volunteer work with organizations that include Advantage Village Academy, Matters of the Heart Radio Ministry, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Feeding Tampa Bay. Kewa is a graduate of the University of South Florida and an alumna of Gibbs High School.
As Technology and Administration Manager, Lisa Yacso develops and executes the Foundation’s technology strategy and oversees technology and administration, coordinating with critical partners and stakeholders in the process. As a seasoned administrator and project manager, she also oversees organizational planning by creating and monitoring a comprehensive project management dashboard.
Lisa previously served as Online MBA Program Administrator for the USF Muma College of Business. In that role, she curated innovative co-curricular programming, developed and implemented strategic initiatives, advised students, and provided academic administration. While at Muma, she also served as Director of the Women and Leadership Initiative Mentorship program for graduate (primarily female) business students. After the events of 2020, she redesigned the program into the Mentorship Forward program, which supported graduate business female students of color and their allies. She was also an adjunct instructor there.
Before that, she served as federal grant manager and budget supervisor for $6 million in the Carl Perkins IV grant at St. Petersburg College. This grant supported academic workforce education and focused in part on expanding access to diverse populations. She also administered an innovative workforce education program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Her academic experience is complemented by nine years in leadership roles in energy management, working closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and public housing authorities. She served as chief operating officer and vice president at two small businesses she co-owned and was a director at Constellation Energy, then a Fortune 125 company.
As a former officer of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, advocacy, activism, and civic engagement are part of her core values. She also served on the Women United advisory committee and the Investments committee for United Way Suncoast for several years. She is a 2022 graduate of Leadership St. Pete.
Lisa holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Florida. She also has a Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance, specializing in College Student Affairs/Higher Education Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in English – both from Texas State University.