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Our Team

    Staff

  • Veronica Thames
    Veronica Thames
    Executive Director
    VThames@ManateeCF.org
    (941) 747-7765
    Veronica Thames
    Executive Director
    VThames@ManateeCF.org
    (941) 747-7765
    As the leader of MCF since August of 2023, Veronica Thames works closely with the board of directors and staff team to set an execute on strategy that will propel the organization forward to enhance the quality of life of the communities we serve. Veronica has served as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Gulf Coast Community Foundation since August 2018. Her role is to translate Gulf Coast’s vision and goals into action from the expansion of operations, including the opening of a Sarasota Philanthropy Center, to working with Community Leadership team to create and execute bold and proactive initiatives that transform our region by leading the Invest In Incredible, and leading the charge on the strong culture that has resulted in the organization being named Best Nonprofit To Work For six time.

    Veronica is an influential and collaborative leader with a proven ability to manage multiple functional areas within a dynamic organization. Prior to Gulf Coast, Veronica served as Vice President of Human Resources at Blake Medical Center Healthcare Corporation of America. At Blake Veronica was responsible for key operations and personnel management for the 1,300-employee organization. Her many accomplishments included creating the top-ranked childcare facility in Manatee County and developing the largest community health and wellness program within the HCA hospital system nationwide.

    Veronica has extensive Board and governance experience. She currently serves on the board for the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School Parents Association and is the Vice Chair of the Board at HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital and formerly was a longtime member and former chair of the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Manatee.

    Outside of work, Veronica loves spending time wither her husband and daughter, as well as home remodeling, kayaking, and big gatherings (where she doesn’t have to cook!). Veronica was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has lived and worked across the United States, from Boca Raton, Florida to Los Angeles, California before planting her roots in Lakewood Ranch, Manatee County.
  • Jennifer Abbott
    Jennifer Abbott
    Director of Philanthropy
    JAbbott@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5446
    Jennifer Abbott
    Director of Philanthropy
    JAbbott@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5446
    Jennifer works with caring individuals and businesses to create personal and flexible philanthropic funds that support our community and beyond, while fulfilling the charitable wishes and tax advantages for the donors. She joined Manatee Community Foundation in August 2018 after 10 years as a development professional at Forty Carrots Family Center in Sarasota, FL.
  • Alicia Chalmers
    Alicia Chalmers
    Manager of Donor Engagement
    AChalmers@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5447
    Alicia Chalmers
    Manager of Donor Engagement
    AChalmers@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5447
    Alicia joined Manatee Community Foundation in February 2019 and works with donors and future donors to help them maximize the joy, impact and tax benefits of their philanthropy. She concentrates in Lakewood Ranch and east Manatee County. Her enthusiasm for our community and connections with people who care are special additions to our team.
  • Simone Peterson
    Simone Peterson
    Community Investment Officer
    SPeterson@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5448
    Simone Peterson
    Community Investment Officer
    SPeterson@ManateeCF.org
    941-556-5448
    Simone comes to us after a 14-year career with Manatee County Government. She was born and raised in Manatee County and is passionate about a community where all of our citizens are connected and supported. Simone holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration from University of South Florida. At Manatee County Government, Simone managed grant funding for neighborhood enhancement projects; supervised staff members to accomplish division and departmental goals; served as a liaison between Manatee County Government and assigned neighborhoods; built partnerships between nonprofits, neighborhoods, governments to solve or mitigate challenges within neighborhoods; and researched and implemented programs and initiatives that may benefit Manatee County residents. She is also a small business owner.

    Simone was a Knight City’s Challenge Winner in 2017 and won the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals MVP Award in 2019, among other honors. She recently served on MCF’s board of directors, Grants Committee and Scholarship Committee.
  • Sarah Bostic
    Sarah Bostic
    Executive Assistant | Office Manager
    Sarah Bostic
    Executive Assistant | Office Manager
    Sarah Bostic joins Manatee Community Foundation as executive assistant and office manager, bringing 20+ years of experience with high performing teams at corporations such as FCCI Insurance Group and Intertape Polymer Technologies. Her passion for giving back is woven throughout her two decades in the Manatee community where she raised her daughters, with volunteer roles from church to school and beyond. Sarah and her fiancé Hank enjoy hosting friends and their blended family (including a new granddaughter!) at their forever home in Palmetto. We welcome Sarah’s exceptional organization and leadership skills, but most of all her warmth and genuine smile. She can’t wait to meet each and every friend of MCF!

    Board of Directors

  • Bob Turner
    Bob Turner
    Retired Publisher, Bradenton Herald, MCF Vice Chair
    Bob Turner
    Bob Turner
    Retired Publisher, Bradenton Herald, MCF Vice Chair
    Bob is the retired President and Publisher of the Bradenton Herald & Bradenton.com. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association. He attended college prep school at Woodward Academy in College Park, GA. Bob has been a resident of Manatee County and an employee of the Herald since September 1979. He began his newspaper career as a proof runner for the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer in 1968 working part time as an intern. He spent the first 15 years of his newspaper career in the advertising division. Starting as an outside salesperson at the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer, he was promoted to Retail Advertising Manager at The Bradenton Herald in 1979 and to Director of Advertising in 1983. In 1988, Bob was promoted to General Manager of The Bradenton Herald, a position he held until 1996. At that time Bob was promoted to Vice President and Director of Operations and in 2008, he was promoted to the position of President and Publisher until his retirement in June of 2017.
  • Dannie Sherrill
    Dannie Sherrill
    Project Manager, Sherrill Wealth Management, MCF Board Vice Chair
    Dannie Sherrill
    Dannie Sherrill
    Project Manager, Sherrill Wealth Management, MCF Board Vice Chair
    Sherrill has a deep history of community involvement and asset development work in Manatee and Sarasota counties, including philanthropic roles at The Bishop, Manatee Education Foundation, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. She is the project manager for Sherrill Wealth Management, coordinating the firm’s business strategy and marketing efforts.
  • Garrett Shinn, MCF Board Treasurer
    Garrett Shinn, MCF Board Treasurer
    Partner, Carr, Riggs & Ingram
    Garrett Shinn, MCF Board Treasurer
    Garrett Shinn, MCF Board Treasurer
    Partner, Carr, Riggs & Ingram
    Garrett is the Partner in Charge of the Bradenton and Sarasota offices of CRI. Garrett has over 12 years of public accounting experience. His primary responsibilities include managing client engagements, completing research and documentation for various tax and accounting engagements, and review of staff and senior-level work. Mr. Shinn’s focus is primarily working with tax clients for compliance and planning engagements of high net worth individuals, for-profit closely held businesses and not-for-profit entities.
  • Steve Roskamp, MCF Board Secretary
    Steve Roskamp, MCF Board Secretary
    Principal, Freedom Senior Management
    Steve Roskamp, MCF Board Secretary
    Steve Roskamp, MCF Board Secretary
    Principal, Freedom Senior Management
    Currently a Principal with Freedom Senior Management, a provider of Senior Living Communities in Sarasota County including Sarasota Bay Club in Sarasota and Jacaranda Trace in Venice. With over 35years’ experience, Steve has been involved in the successful development and management of senior living centers nationally.
    He has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Stetson University.
    He is involved in the community through Tidewell Hospice, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Roskamp Institute, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Business. Steve and his wife Carolyn have two children and are active members of Kirkwood Presbyterian Church in Bradenton.

  • Tom Breiter
    Tom Breiter
    Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Wealth Enhancement Group
    Tom Breiter
    Tom Breiter
    Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Wealth Enhancement Group
    In 1987, Tom entered the world of financial services after serving in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power program, which included operating the propulsion systems on two different submarines as well as being an instructor at the Navy’s Nuclear Power School. By 1991, he was the lead portfolio manager at a large financial planning firm in Orlando, Florida, where he directed over $130 million in assets. Tom started his own registered investment advisory firm in 1992 with a passion for helping individual investors plan for and reaching their retirement and life goals. That company eventually became Integra Capital Advisors. A lot has changed in the world since then, but Tom believes having a sound financial plan is more important now than ever. Tom joined forces with Wealth Enhancement Group in 2022. His years of experience are of enormous value to both his colleagues and his clients.
  • Douglas Elmore
    Douglas Elmore
    Partner at Williams Parker, Attorneys at Law
    Douglas Elmore
    Douglas Elmore
    Partner at Williams Parker, Attorneys at Law
    Elmore has a deep history of community involvement including leadership roles with Easterseals of Southwest Florida, Mote Marine Laboratories and Ringling College Library Association. He is a partner at Williams Parker, Attorneys at Law, practicing in the areas of trusts and estates. Elmore designs and implements customized estate plans, particularly for clients that own special or legacy assets requiring strategic planning to integrate tax, business succession, and estate planning objectives.
  • Debra Estes
    Debra Estes
    Director of ESOL, Migrant and Dual Language Programs for the School District of Manatee County
    Debra Estes
    Debra Estes
    Director of ESOL, Migrant and Dual Language Programs for the School District of Manatee County
    Estes is the Director of ESOL, Migrant and Dual Language Programs for the School District of Manatee County with 25+ years of as a public-school educator. She has been at the helm of the ESOL program in the School District of Manatee County nine years. In addition, she has taught language arts, reading, and ESOL and served as a reading coach, district trainer and ESOL Specialist over the span of her career. Estes serves on the Florida Association of Bilingual and ESOL Supervisors (FABES) board, including a term as president from 2018-2020.
  • Nurisha Harvey
    Nurisha Harvey
    Attorney
    Nurisha Harvey
    Nurisha Harvey
    Attorney
    Attorney Nurisha Azizi Harvey is a New Jersey native and proud mother of two amazing children. Prior to law school, Nurisha received her Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and AfricanAmerican Studies, furthering her academic desire to understand the intersection between the justice system’s historical and current impact on marginalized communities of color. With education at the cornerstone of her values and in the footsteps of her father, Nurisha went on to pursue a dual Masters degree in Public Administration and in Diplomacy & International Relations. In the interest of serving communities of color in the justice system. Nurisha also worked as a case manager and mediator at the Superior Court of New Jersey.
    Nurisha is one of the only talent agents of color licensed in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Georgia. She has been a long-standing advocate for change working tirelessly towards the representation and inclusion of people of color on television, in film and on Broadway. Nurisha Graduated Cum Laude with a Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School where she was a recipient of the Leadership Achievement Award.

    Aside from her academic and professional endeavors, Nurisha also excelled in leadership, holding emeritus positions as the Vice President of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society, Vice President of the Christian Legal Society, a member of the Black Law Student Association, a member Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Association, while serving the law school as a WMU Cooley Ambassador. Nurisha is also a proud and active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
  • Amanda Horne
    Amanda Horne
    Co-Founder, Dive Into Reading/Marketing, Oysters Rock Hospitality
    Amanda Horne
    Amanda Horne
    Co-Founder, Dive Into Reading/Marketing, Oysters Rock Hospitality
    Overseeing Marketing & Community Relations for the Oysters Rock Hospitality, Amanda Horne is the co-founder of Dive Into Reading, a national award-winning summer reading program that is a collaboration among the Anna Maria Oyster Bars, School District of Manatee County, Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading and Manatee County Libraries.
    At the Oyster Bars, Amanda works alongside her husband CEO John Horne encouraging
    inclusivity in our community through family-friendly affordable dining. She has spent her career championing for access to educational opportunities, including her years spent as
    Communications Coordinator at The Women’s Resource Center, which strives to educate and
    empower women of all generations.

    Amanda’s passion for education at all stages of life has deep roots, having served PACE Center for Girls – Manatee for years on the Board of Directors, including two terms as Chair. Along with her husband, John, she also helped pioneer a scholarship fund for adults returning to higher education at State College of Florida, USF Sarasota-Bradenton and Manatee Technical College through the Horne & Moon Scholarship Social. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida’s Education Class IV (Transf4mers), which has provided myriad networking and
    educational opportunities.
  • Barbara Jennings
    Barbara Jennings
    Community Volunteer
    Barbara Jennings
    Barbara Jennings
    Community Volunteer
    Barbara Jennings is a retired university administrator who earned three university degrees—in education, urban studies, and the law. She worked at Case Western Reserve University and The Ohio State University and as a professional businesswoman for a total of more than thirty years. Her community involvement has included Leadership Manatee Alumni Association, ArtCenter Manatee, Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County, Tiger Bay Club, Women’s Leadership Initiative and United Way. She served on the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of Palmetto for six years, serving as Chair for two terms.
  • Jeanie Kirkpatrick
    Jeanie Kirkpatrick
    Community Leader, MCF Board Chair
    Jeanie Kirkpatrick
    Jeanie Kirkpatrick
    Community Leader, MCF Board Chair
    Jeanie Kirkpatrick recently joined MCF’s board and brings a multitude of experience with her. Jeanie served as the board president of South Florida Museum from 2014 – 2015 and served as a co-vice president of the Boys and Girls Club Board from 2012 – 2015. Jeanie attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE where she earned a B.S. in Education. She also has great experience in volunteer work, and organization affiliations. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising professionals, Women in Development- Boston Chapter, and Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
  • Jenifer Schembri
    Jenifer Schembri
    Principal, Blalock Walters, P.A.
    Jenifer Schembri
    Jenifer Schembri
    Principal, Blalock Walters, P.A.
    Schembri is a principal at the law firm Blalock Walters, P.A. and practices in the firm’s Bradenton and Sarasota offices. She represents both companies and individuals in the areas of individual and business tax planning, corporate governance matters, mergers and acquisitions, business succession planning and transitions, charitable planning, and all aspects of estate planning, including trust and estate taxation and wealth preservation. Schembri is a former member of Manatee Community Foundation’s Lakewood Ranch Community Fund board of advisors.
  • Dr. Xavier Sevilla
    Dr. Xavier Sevilla
    Pediatrician
    Dr. Xavier Sevilla
    Dr. Xavier Sevilla
    Pediatrician
    Dr. Sevilla is a primary care pediatrician in Bradenton. He has a passion for Quality Improvement (QI), especially relating to primary care office practices. He started his QI journey in 2003, when he was awarded the honorable mention of the Quality of Care Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his work on improving care for the medically underserved patients in Manatee County, Florida.
  • Conrad Szymanski
    Conrad Szymanski
    Retired CEO, Bealls Department Store, Board Treasurer
    Conrad Szymanski
    Conrad Szymanski
    Retired CEO, Bealls Department Store, Board Treasurer
    Conrad Szymanski joined our board in July 2017. In his professional career, Conrad served as the president of Bealls, Inc. from August 1995 – August 2007 and most recently serves on the board of directors for Bealls, Inc. Conrad attended college at the University of Kentucky where he earned a MBA in marketing and finance. A number of other organizations that Conrad is involved with are, National Association of Corporate Directors, Florida Angel Nexus, International Council of Shopping Centers, Manatee County Chamber of Commerce – board of directors, Manatee County Economic Development Council, St. Stephen’s episcopal school – board of directors, and Manatee Area Youth Soccer.
  • Susie Walters
    Susie Walters
    Community Volunteer
    Susie Walters
    Susie Walters
    Community Volunteer
    Susie Walters is a long-time community leader in Manatee County. She was the founding president of Manatee’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate and board member for many years, director and chair of Turning Points as its Galvano Center was funded and built, and director and chair of Catholic Charities for its ten-county Diocese.

    She served on Selby Foundation’s Scholarship committee and chaired Asolo Theater’s education committee. Susie chaired the Bradenton Advisory committee for the Knight Foundation for six years and was the cochair of the inaugural board of Realize Bradenton. She is a sustaining member of the Service club and Jr. League. Her interest in retailing lead her to Beall’s Department Stores where she created its Training Department.

    Susie serves as a member on the newly formed LIFE Board (an elder care PACE center under the auspices of Empath, formally Stratum Health Systems). She holds a BS from Florida State University and has graduate work at University of South Florida in Reading & School Supervision.