MEET OUR AMAZING BOARD MEMBERS!

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Rob Thomas

Board Chair

Rob was born and raised in Memphis, TN as the youngest of 6 kids. Sports, particularly football and baseball, consumed much of his time growing up. Although his father passed away when Rob was 8, his mom worked hard to provide everything he needed.

After high school, he attended the University of Memphis where he obtained a degree in Finance and was active in campus leadership. While he will always have a place in his heart for Tennessee, Rob and his family have called north Florida home since 2013. He has been enjoying the warm weather ever since!
 

Rob is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Saint Augustine. He enjoys helping his clients plan for retirement, invest, and create wealth management strategies. Rob is passionate about financial planning and considers it an honor to assist his clients in securing their financial future.


He and his wife, Christine, have six kids (who are all now young adults), one son-in-law, one precious grandson, and two very beloved (and spoiled) dogs.

 

However, the story of his family centers around March 12, 2005 when a sibling group of 4 beautiful kids sauntered into his house as foster children, escorted by a social worker, and joined Rob, his wife, and 2 other children. Their lives would never be the same as the family was eventually made complete through the adoption of these 4 wonderful kids.

 

During the fostering process, Rob and Christine were honored to be named West Tennessee Foster Parents of the Year. In
the past, Rob has also served on the board of other charitable organizations, spent time in various mentoring roles, and supported St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Alzheimer’s Association.
In his spare time, Rob enjoys sports, historical documentaries, live music, and enjoying the Florida sunshine!

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Amanda Bunk-Sizemore

Treasurer

Amanda graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelor of Accounting Degree in 2004. She earned her Master of Accountancy from The University of North Florida in December 2010 and her Master of Business Administration in 2021 from Southern New Hampshire University. She became a Certified Public Accountant and licensed within the State of Florida since 2013.

Amanda started her public accounting career in high school, working during school holidays. She now has over 15 years of full-time experience working at Jacksonville based firms, taking on responsibilities of bookkeeping, payroll, corporate and individual tax returns. Amanda is a current member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Amanda is a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi and served as its Treasurer while attending Jacksonville University. Amanda has also volunteered in several positions within her church, including spending 18 months serving a mission in Denver, Colorado. Amanda is a proud Navy wife and currently serves as the ombudsman for the USS Maryland (738) Gold Crew.

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Jessica Melquist

Director

Jessica is a California native. She has a Bachelor  of Science in International Agricultural Development and Economics from  the University of California, Davis and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Perdue University.

Jessica's early career started in international development in third world countries. Through this work,  she honed in on cocoa farming and took great interest in this industry. Jessica's education and work experiences took her across Africa and Asia before she  settled with Kraft Foods managing their cocoa desk. She was responsible for hedging our cocoa powder, chocolate and butter needs across America. Jessica held various roles within the global procurement organization over her 10 year tenure.

In late 2019,  Jessica opened her first franchise, Burn Boot Camp, in Nocatee Town Center.  Jessica manages the gym and leads of team of incredible athletes as they  bring health and fitness to our community.

Jessica has a  deep passion for improving the welfare of children. She thinks it is our greatest moral obligation and is  honored to be working with just a great organization that is helping so many at-risk youth. 

Jessica and her husband have been married for 12 years and have 4 beautiful children.

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Eileen Ward

Programming Chair

Eileen Ward graduated from Flagler College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Youth Ministry.

Eileen and her husband Josh have ministered to college, high school, and middle school students for well over a decade.

Fostering and adoption has been a passion of Eileen’s since she was a child. Early in the year of 2020, the Wards adopted a beautiful teenager and became grandparents to her sweet daughter.

Eileen currently homeschools her kids while her husband Josh is a manager at a restaurant in downtown St Augustine. 

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Kandise Crocket

Marketing Chair

 Kandise is a Realtor with The Crocket Team at Keller Williams serving northeast Florida.  She was born in Germany, raised in Michigan and has lived in the beautiful city of Saint Augustine since 2010.

 Kandise has had a passion for helping children in foster care since high school.  Her journey led her and her husband to become foster parents and adopted children through foster care in 2015.  She has an intimate knowledge of the local foster system and understands the needs of foster families. 

Kandise and her family are passionate about giving back to their community. Her children especially love volunteering with Fostering Connections and helping children who are going through the same struggles they did just a few years ago themselves

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Stephanie McFee

Vice Chair

Steph is the Community & Connections Guide at the Women's Business Development Council of Florida and the  owner of Steph McFee, a coaching and consulting firm that works with businesses and individuals to help them increase engagement and build connections.

Steph is a curator of people. She believes every person is a masterpiece and she works to curate you to help people connect with the person the world wants to know.

Originally from Alabama, Steph has an extensive background in marketing and communications. She has a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Merchandising and a Masters Degree in Consumer Affairs, both from Auburn University.

Steph served as a college professor at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia and worked for many years in the nonprofit sector and a large corporation before opening her consulting firm.

In addition to her board position with Fostering Connections, Steph has served as a board member of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Women with Vision Council.

Steph's passions in life are empowering women,sharing a message of equality, and sustainability.

Steph has several close friends that have been foster and adoptive parents. She is passionate about supporting foster families and ensuring that all children in foster care have all of the resources they need to reach their full potential.

Steph is the proud mom of a young daughter. They love to travel and explore new places together. Steph loves Disney and frequently visits Disney , her "Happy Place", with her daughter.

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Donna Wagner

Secretary

Donna Wagner is so excited to work with Fostering Connections!  As an adoptive mother and Registered Nurse for 30 years she knows the impact strong community connections and support can have.  

Donna moved to St. Augustine from NY 10 years ago and has worked in various positions for Flagler Health + over those 10 years.  She is currently the Vice President of Education Services and Patient Experience for Flagler Health +.  Donna received her Associates Degree in Nursing from Farmingdale State College of NY, and both her Bachelors and Masters Degree’s in Nursing from St. Joseph’s College.  

Currently, Donna is involved in many advisory boards for schools of nursing in St. John’s and Duval Counties as well as being on the St. Johns  County School District Advisory Board for the Healthcare Academies.  She also enjoyed being a Board Member for the GAL 7 for 2 years which also worked with children in the foster system.    

In her free time, Donna enjoys paddle boarding, boating, Zumba, and spending time with her friends and family.  She is passionate about education and providing opportunity for anyone who wants it. 

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Casey Woolsey

Director

Casey is a partner at St. Johns County law firm Woolsey Morcom PLLC, where she helps individuals and small businesses in need of legal assistance with litigation matters including personal injury and real estate.

 In addition to her work as an attorney, she is proud to be a wife to Josh and mom to four young boys. Casey and her family enjoy traveling and spending time with their animals, including two dogs, two cats, two goats, and ten chickens.  

Through her legal work, Casey has seen first-hand the impact of trauma on families, as well as the need for support and resources for foster families and children in the foster care system.

She is proud to be part of this organization that provides much-needed resources and support for families in our community. 

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Anastasia Gray

Director

Anastasia Gray joined the Northwestern Mutual team in early 2017. Her passion is to help people achieve financial freedom and create legacies.  Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual she was an aspiring professional golfer. 

She graduated with Honors from the University of Southern Indiana with a double major in Finance and Spanish. While in college, she also distinguished herself as a record-breaking member of the Women’s Golf Team, being the first and only golfer from her university to advance to the NCAA D2 National Championship. She was the president of the Speaking Eagles Toastmasters Club, active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She aspires to be the best she can be, not only in her work, but in every aspect of her life.

Anastasia was born in Louisiana, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and has lived in Boston, Massachusetts as well as the Philippines. She now resides on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, FL.

She is actively involved in Resources for Philippines Rural Communities, which teaches pastors in the rural areas of the Philippines how to farm and be self sufficient.  Our Mission is to come alongside the rural communities and uncover the full potential of the people and their land.

Among the many things Anastasia enjoys are ballroom dancing, cooking, gardening, reading, singing on the worship team at her church, traveling, and being in the great outdoors. With her, there is always something new to learn and experience.

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Whitney Kersey Graves

Director

 Whitney is the the Assistant Director of Driver Licenses for the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Office. She has worked in local government for the last 13 years.   Whitney is also a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with a passion for providing car seats and education to residents in St. Johns County. 

 Whitney graduated from Flagler College with a  Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. She  obtained a MBA from Louisiana State University as a working mom with three young children. 

 

As an alumnus of Leadership St. Johns, Whitney felt a calling towards servant leadership and wanted to place her time and efforts into an organization that works towards making a difference in the lives of children and families here locally.

 

When Whitney is not working, she enjoy spending time with her husband and children in the outdoors. 

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Melissa Reynolds

Hospitality Chair

Melissa was born in New York and relocated as a teen to Florida with her single mother to be with her grandmother. Her grandmother’s trauma and experience in foster care in the 1930’s was a big motivator for her wanting to be involved with Fostering Connections.

 

Currently, Melissa is the Professional Partner Relationship Manager for an exciting new tech startup company called POM Vault.  POM Vault is a secure cloud technology that stores, organizes, and retrieves all of life’s important moments from Ancestry to Legacy.

 

Prior to joining POM Vault, Melissa spent most of her career in Telecommunications/Wireless on the National Level. She worked her way up from a Wireless Sales Consultant to a National Sales Trainer. After a decade and a half of working in Wireless, she spent several years in Merchandising where she managed an amazing team of account managers for a Marketing & Branding Company in the Entertainment/Music Industry. 

 

Although she cannot have any children of her own, she has helped raised children within her own family, and loves giving back to the youth in the community. 

 

Melissa is a coffee aficionado, Disney obsessed, and a car enthusiast. On her days off she enjoys spending time with her family, mountain biking, car shows, and park hopping with her husband Phil. 

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Kyle Bray

Director

Kyle is the owner of Uptown Scratch Kitchen, a  progressive, hybrid scratch kitchen food truck serving fresh, twisted, contemporary American cuisine. 

Kyle grew up in St. Augustine while attending the Florida School for the Blind. He has worked with multiple nonprofits working with families and children with disabilities.

 

Kyle has a beautiful wife, April, and two daughters, Savannah and Katie Mae. 

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Lori Pugh Marcum

Events Chair

Lori has lived in the Jacksonville and St Augustine area for the last 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) focused in Communications and Advertising from the University of North Florida and a Master of Meeting and Event Management from San Diego State University.

Lori was a Guardian Ad Litem in Duval County for several years and is thrilled to serve as the Events Chair for Fostering Connections. She brings 17 years of event experience to the organization and serves on several national boards for Meeting Professionals International.

Lori lives in St. Augustine with her husband and daughter along with their two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys attending her daughter’s volleyball games, antiques, traveling, and a good cup of coffee.