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Board of Directors / Executive Team
Carol Ann "Cari" DeSantis
Chief Executive Officer
Carol Ann “Cari” DeSantis brings more than 20 years of experience in philanthropy, health care, government relations and business management to Melwood. Before coming to Melwood, Ms. DeSantis headed her own management consulting firm, where she led government and nonprofit agencies in the health and human services sector through organizational transformations and guided them through strategic planning and organizational effectiveness processes. Prior to her consulting work, DeSantis was executive vice president, public affairs and communications at the Casey Family Programs Foundation, a $2 billion foundation whose mission is to inspire individuals, communities, elected officials, and the media to care about American’s most vulnerable children. From 2001-2008, she served the State of Delaware as cabinet secretary, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Families. As CEO of this large state department, she was responsible for overseeing an annual budget in excess of $175 million and more than 1,300 employees in 30 locations statewide.
DeSantis holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (Medical Ethics) from the University of Delaware, where she also received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism. DeSantis is the author of three books, including the 2000 National Independent Publishers Book Award-winning Of Hope and Charity, as well as numerous articles. She also is the recipient of the Service Excellence Award from the American Public Human Services Association, among other individual and organizational awards.
Chief Operating Officer
Jeffrey Hills is the Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the oversight and management of Melwood's operations. Mr. Hills is a senior-level executive with more than 30 years experience in federal program and contract relations. Prior to joining the Melwood team, Jeff worked for Akima, LLC, part of the Alaska Native NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., located in northern Virginia, holding leadership positions in both NANA Services (Interim VP & GM) and in Akima Support Operations (VP & GM). As a Licensed Professional Engineer, Certified Professional Contract Manager, and DOD’s highest level of acquisition certification CAP – Level III, Jeff has advised and directed major critical programs, projects, and contracting efforts for DOD, Army, and USACE throughout his career.
Mr. Hills began his career in the Army, where he rose to the rank of Lt Colonel. He then transitioned to the private sector, he has executed and managed numerous large multi-million dollar design and construction projects, several hundred million dollar design and construction programs, a multi-billion dollar annual environmental program consisting of major federal and Department of Defense (DOD) programs as well as DOD housing and utility privatization programs. Jeff has held supervisory and budgetary responsibility for various critical federal programs as well as group and company level profit and loss responsibility in the private sector. He has managed small, medium, and large offices with operating budgets in excess of $34 million per year. One of the recent major projects Jeff managed placed over $1.4 billion annually in engineering and construction. He holds a Masters degrees in civil engineering and a MS/MBA, Management, both from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors degree from the United States Military Academy. He also holds a Top Secret Clearance. Hills currently resides in Germantown, MD with his wife Doty, son Zach and their boxer, Benny.
Chief Financial Officer
Myron Thomas is the Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the oversight and management of Melwood’s financial functions. Mr. Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in strategic planning and corporate finance to his new post. Prior to joining Melwood, he managed a $250 million Private Equity backed fund for one of the leading property management companies in the Southeastern region. Before that he oversaw a diversified hospitality company where he successfully managed the acquisition of over $300 million in vacation ownership sales. Earlier in his career, Myron led efforts to negotiate and acquire over $1 billion in real estate and an associated $500 million in debt financings in the U.S. and Canada.
Mr. Thomas obtained his MPA from Harvard University, his MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and his BS in Accounting from Florida A&M University. He is certified as a CPA, CVA and Six Sigma specialist and is a member of the AICPA and Young Presidents’ Organization (Washington, DC Chapter). He lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife and three children.
Larysa M. Kautz, Esq.
Larysa Kautz is the General Counsel, serving as chief legal advisor to the CEO and the Board of Directors. Ms. Kautz is responsible for the management of Melwood's legal affairs, providing oversight for corporate and tax compliance, contracts, legislative affairs, labor and employment. She brings more than 10 years of experience in corporate governance, risk management, contracts, lobbying activities, joint ventures, fiscal sponsorship, venture philanthropy, UBTI issues, donation policies and agreements and other matters. Prior to joining Melwood, Ms. Kautz was partner at the Schaner & Lubitz, PLLC law firm. Before that she served as counsel at Bingham McCutchen, LLP and previously as an associate at Swidler Berlin, LLP prior to Swidler Berlin's merger with Bingham McCutchen. She has also lent her expertise to the Obama Administration and the Foundation for the National Archives as pro bono counsel.
Larysa Kautz holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from Yale Law School and a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in the field of taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Kautz has been admitted to practice law in New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia. She lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband, Ryan; their dachshunds, Gretchen and Ziggy; their border collie, Lucky; and cat, Mimic.
Vice President, External Affairs
Robert Grom is Vice President of External Affairs, responsible for the development and execution of the marketing, communications, fundraising and volunteer efforts for the organization. Prior to joining Melwood, Bob worked with the University of Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Partnerships, Office of Child Development as a strategic development consultant. Previously, Grom served as Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer at DC Cancer Consortium in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for creating a comprehensive fundraising program with an integrated grant-making agenda. Over the last 15 years, Bob has directed efforts that raised more than $125 million and directed grant-making programs delivering more than $68 million to community programs and organizations.
A frequent presenter, author, and consultant, Grom has served as a volunteer leader in many local and regional community organizations. A Pittsburgh native, Grom is a graduate of Edinboro University (Political Science and Public Administration). He and his family live in Arlington, Virginia.
Interim Vice President, Contract Administration
Deborah Purcell is the Interim Vice President of Contract Administration for Melwood, leading capture planning, development of strategic business partnerships, and proposal planning and development. Prior to joining Melwood, Ms. Purcell served as Director of Contracts and Procurement at Hampton Roads Transit, having compliance responsibility and management oversight for federal procurement and contracts administration. There she led the contracts management team through planning and development, construction contracts administration, and implementation of the first light rail transit system in Virginia. Earlier in her career, she held positions as Business Process Management Consultant, Contracts Management Consultant, Director of Business Operations, Sales Manager, Manager of Contracts and Internal Audit Manager for large federal and state government contractors. She obtained her BS in Accounting from Jackson State University and is a CPA.
Vice President, Human Resources
Scott Gibson is the Vice President of Human Resources, responsible for leading, designing, planning, directing, and evaluating key HR areas including compensation & benefits, workforce planning, employee relations, recruitment/staffing, onboarding and professional development.
Prior to joining Melwood, Scott Gibson was appointed Director of Human Resources for Harford County Government by County Executive David R. Craig in 2007 to oversee HR operations for approximately 1,500 employees. As Director of Human Resources, Mr. Gibson served in the County Executive’s Cabinet, administered and interpreted the County personnel policy, oversaw the management and distribution of benefits, and served on the Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust Fund Board as well as the Sheriff’s Office Pension Plan Board of Trustees. Before leading the Harford County Department of Human Resources, he served as Deputy Director of the Maryland Racing Commission, and on the legislative staff of Maryland State Senator J. Robert Hooper. Mr. Gibson serves on the boards of the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, Maryland Public Employer Labor Relations Association, Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding and Harford United Charities. Additionally, he has served on the adjunct faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s University and Harford Community College, where he teaches political science. Mr. Gibson earned his Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Mount Saint Mary’s College.
Vice President, Finance
Romell Buchanan is the Vice President of Finance and Controller, responsible for the management of Melwood’s accounting and financial compliance functions. Mr. Buchanan brings more than 12 years experience in nonprofit accounting to Melwood; with expertise in audit compliance, cash management and finance. Prior to joining Melwood, he worked as the Finance Director for The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing. Before that he directed the accounting functions for a diversified nonprofit that specialized in Real Estate and Investments where he effectively provided financial and accounting insight on several multimillion dollar developments.
Mr. Buchanan earned his Master of Accounting (with an emphasis in financial management) from Walden University, and his Bachelor of Science from University of Maryland College Park.
Vice President, Community Services
Michael Glanz is the Vice President of Community Services, responsible for Melwood’s program services helping people live, work, and play in the most inclusive setting. Prior to joining Melwood Michael was a leader in providing quality camping, recreation, and travel experiences to people with and without disabilities through The League for People with Disabilities and Camp Adventure Youth Services. Michael is a 2011 graduate of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s Project Leap and is member of Leadership Greater Washington’s Effective Leadership Institute. Michael earned a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit and Association Management from the University of Maryland University College, a BS degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Iowa, a Certificate in Leisure Studies from the University of Northern Iowa and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.
Vice President, Safety and Risk Management
Jermaine Hunter is the Vice President of Safety and Risk Management, responsible for identifying and controlling all exposure to loss for Melwood, its employees and facilities. Hunter brings 18 years of experience to Melwood as a safety and health professional within the commercial property and casualty insurance industry including risk management exposures and mitigations as well as OSHA’s general and construction industry standards. As an Organizational Management doctoral candidate and skilled risk analyst, Mr. Hunter specializes in obtaining critical information and facts as well as providing particle exposure mitigation techniques.
Director, Quality Control
Sue Harris is the Director of Quality providing quality assurance oversight to Melwood’s contract sites, community services initiatives and programming, and in administrative processes. Prior to joining the Melwood team, Ms. Harris oversaw the corporate quality and regulatory affairs division of New Chapter Inc. – a Proctor and Gamble Company. In this position she was responsible for establishing and maintaining corporate systems for conformance to domestic and international quality standards and regulations. Throughout her career, she has served as the corporate liaison to many state and federal regulatory agencies including the FDA, OSHA, EPA, AIB, USDA and DEA, to name a few. Ms. Harris has implemented and managed ISO 9000 quality management systems for several corporate entities. She has also developed a number of quality assurance and regulatory programs for those organizations. Sue is a Six Sigma Specialist and a member of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Mike Keppler, MBA
Mike Keppler of Fairfax, VA will serve as Board Chair. Mike has served on Melwood’s Board for the past four years leading the Strategic Planning Committee, Fund Development Task Force and Committee and partnering with the CEO and Board in the development of Melwood’s strategic plan, metrics and growth plans. He is an executive in the Global Information Technology division of Marriott International, Inc. in Bethesda, MD with 30 years of experience in information technology strategy, consulting, product development and operations from his work with Marriott, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Mobil Oil. He served as a Board Member and Treasurer of the OpenTravel Alliance, an industry organization committed to the advancement of digital commerce standards for the travel industry. Mike is also a parent of an adult with differing abilities and, in his free time, Mike coaches the Fairfax Challenger division Yankees and Nationals, a baseball league for children and young adults with differing abilities.
George Watkins, CPA
George Watkins of Marbury, MD will serve as board vice chair. Watkins previously served as Melwood’s board treasurer. He is President of Watkins and Associates, a CPA firm in La Plata, MD, and brings nearly 30 years’ experience as a certified public accountant to the Melwood Board.
Richard Mahan, CPA
Richard Mahan, of Howard County, MD, will serve as board treasurer. Mahan previously served as Melwood’s board vice chair. He is an audit partner at CohnReznick in Bethesda and brings more than 23 years of experience in public accounting practice and private industry.
Sharon Camp, Ph.D of Welcome, MD. Dr. Camp is a forty-year veteran of the family planning and reproductive health field. For 10 years prior to her retirement in July 2013, she served as President & CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. The Institute has twice been voted by reproductive health and rights experts the leading organization in the field for its unique ability to combine rigorous research with insightful policy analysis and strategic communications. Dr. Camp has chaired the boards of Family Health International, the National Council for International Health (now the Global Health Council), and the International Center for Research on Women, and was founding Chair of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. She is an honors graduate of Pomona College in California and holds a Ph.D. in international studies from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Donald A. Donahue, DHEd, MBA, FACHE
Donald Donahue, Jr. of Washington, DC, brings more than 35 years of healthcare administration and planning experience and more than 30 years of service as a member of the US military. He previously served as Melwood's board chair. Prior to being elected as chair, he served as board secretary.
Christina Eaglin, of Montgomery County, Maryland is President & CEO of MMPP, LLC, a full-service special events, advertising and marketing firm. Previously, she directed interactive communications for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and brings more than 25 years of experience in broadcast advertising and marketing.
Divina Gamble of Washington, DC. Gamble is a consultant in the Washington, DC office of Korn Ferry and is a member of the firm’s Global Education and Nonprofit, Philanthropy and Social Enterprise practices. She is also a member of the firm’s Diversity practice. Ms. Gamble joined Korn Ferry from Discovery Communications, Inc. where she worked on the Global Project Management team. Ms. Gamble holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Georgetown University. She is a chair for the Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Program and co-founded the Georgetown University Alumnae Giving Circle in partnership with the Center for Social Justice. Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Board of Childís Garden Learning Center. Ms. Gamble was recently inducted into the NextGen/Calibr Network, an extension of the Executive Leadership Council, the nation’s premier network of the most senior African American executives in Fortune 500 companies.
Sue A. Greer, Esq.
Sue A. Greer is a partner at The Greer Law Firm where she specializes in land use; local government; zoning; and business and contract law. Greer’s legal career, which began with the Department of Justice Honors Program, spans 20 years. She served as the Deputy County Attorney in the Office of the County Attorney for Charles County, Maryland. She was specially assigned as the General Counsel for the Charles County Office of the Sheriff. Greer attended the Notre Dame School of Law and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland State and Charles County Bar Associations and the Charles County Chamber of Commerce, where she serves as Chair of the Economic Development Committee.
Steve Martin of McLean, VA. Martin is currently a Partner with Pace Harmon, a domestic management consulting firm, based out of Vienna, Virginia. He has over 25 years of industry and consulting experience in the areas of supply chain and technology. He was formerly a Partner with Deloitte Consulting for over 13 of his 20 years with the firm. During his tenure with Deloitte, he led a number of practice areas within the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications industry practice including Strategic Sourcing and CRM. He was also responsible for building Deloitte’s telecom end user consulting practice into one of the largest in the industry. Mr. Martin is a recognized authority in the areas of contract negotiations and in structuring transactions for technology related products and services. He has served over one-third of the Fortune 100 and has led more than 100 strategic sourcing transactions totaling in excess of $7 billion in products and services. He has a BS in Applied Mathematics (with honors) from American University and an MS in Engineering from the University of Colorado.
Brenda Sheaffer works for Melwood as a custodian at the New Executive Office Building, a secure federal facility in downtown, Washington, DC. She now lives on her own, but her severe learning disability made it difficult to compete in the job market before she joined Melwood in 1993. She is a talented public speaker and part of the AbilityOne Speakers Bureau. She is often requested to talk about how Melwood’s “umbrella of support” and AbilityOne enabled her to live independently and stop receiving government benefits.
Tracy Wareing of Washington DC., is Executive Director of the American Public Human Services Association, a national, non-profit membership association representing human services leaders in the public sector. Tracy has a long-standing career in human services and government, having served most recently as a senior advisor to US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and before that as the Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona's umbrella human services agency.