board of directors
Our Board of Directors are comprised of a talented and diverse group of professionals who are truly passionate about the mission of Sunday's Child. Each board member brings his and her own respective talents to the organization to help it realize its vision. Sunday's Child members are encouraged to participate as a board member or a committee member.
PRESIDENT — DREW BUCHANAN
Drew was born and raised on the Gulf Coast and moved to Pensacola in 2014 after serving on active duty as a combat correspondent with the U.S. Air Force. He has always been an advocate and voice within the communities he’s called home. Drew currently serves as publisher of The Pulse, a digitally-native newspaper serving Pensacola and the Gulf Coast.
VICE PRESIDENT — GARY RHODES
Gary Rhodes, a Montgomery Alabama native, received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1991 from Auburn University at Montgomery. After a short career in retail management he decided to make a change and went back to school for Management Information Technology graduating in 1995.
He has spent the last 21 years in the software and database development business primarily on Department of Defense contracts. He moved to Pensacola in 2001 and is currently employed by CSCI Inc. as a software and data analyst for a DoD financial system. Gary is the proud father of one young adult son that lives in the area.
Pensacola has definitely become home to Gary. In his free time you will most likely find him socializing and attending events downtown or laying on the beach.
SECRETARY — SARAH EVERHART
Originally from Jupiter, Florida, Sarah Everhart came to our area in 2005 attending college at UWF. After meeting her fiancé Amanda at school and graduating with a BS degree in Maritime Studies, the couple embarked on a year long road trip around the continental US living in their car and volunteering at Habitat For Humanity affiliates in every state they were able. Upon returning to Pensacola, Sarah gladly took a position as an AmeriCorps Service member at the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate leading and teaching volunteers alongside new homeowners on countless construction sites. It was during these 2 years as a Corps member that Sarah began to recognize the feeling of comfort that one gets when they are home. She and Amanda decided to lay down some roots in Pensacola. Sarah went on to earn her National Registry as an EMT and is working part-time for the Escambia County Public Safety department. Her full time employment is with the Navy's MWR and Community Recreation operations teaching sailing and developing leisure programming for our local military families.
When she isn’t working, her interests include being outdoors. Whether it's volunteering, surfing, sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, backcountry hiking, road tripping, yoga or anything in between, Sarah is always looking for ways to share an adventure. Sarah loves Pensacola in a way that is closely tied to the people and the culture that she has come into contact with in our area. There isn't anything that compares to the feeling of being home. And to have that feeling in Pensacola is a gift that Sarah loves to share with others.
TREASURER — CORY WILKINSON
Cory Wilkinson is a Pensacola native and graduate of University of West Florida (B.S. in Environmental Resource Management and Planning, 1990), and Johns Hopkins University (M.S. in Environmental Science, 1999). He is employed with HDR Engineering, Inc. as an environmental planner certified by the American Planning Association (APA) Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certified Environmental Planner (CEP). He is married to Edward Tisdale. Cory has lived and worked in Tennessee, Washington D.C. metro area, San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, New Orleans, and is pleased to call downtown Pensacola home. He enjoys dogs, travel, music, nature, campfires, cool fall air, and walks in the woods.
Rev. Ron Helms-MacBeth relocated to Pensacola, Florida in July 2005 from Rochester, New York after many years of serving as Senior Pastor & where he held interim statewide membership on the New York Council of Bishops. He’s also a two-time honorably discharged military veteran from the United States Navy. Ron has a lifetime of experience working on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. His last pastorate prior to ministry retirement was with Christ Fellowship Church of Pensacola who celebrated his life of ordained ministry with a Reaffirmation of Ordination Worship in early 2006. He is the past President for Gulf Coast TIDE (Together In Diversity and Equality). He continues to work toward social and political justice for the GLBT community in both state-wide and local politics. Currently, he is a local business owner.
Laura Ericson has called Pensacola home for 20 years. When she isn’t working, her interests include scuba diving, travel, time at the beach, yoga, Pickleball, organic gardening, vegetarian cooking, foreign language study, and spending time with her wife, Stephanie Karous, and their two dogs and two cats. She also is doing her part to keep the U.S. Postal Service alive and well by sending snail-mail postcards (over 3000 in the past 6 years).
Laura is a long time volunteer with Covenant Hospice, active with Impact 100, a “friend” of the Escambia County Animal Shelter, and a supporter of the arts community.
Sam Mathews is a Pensacola native, raised in the western Panhandle. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army having served in the Viet Nam War. Upon returning from his military service he attended and graduated from the University of West Florida with B.A and M.A. degrees in Psychology. He continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison obtaining a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology. He returned to Pensacola, to join the faculty of UWF in the Department of Psychology.
During that tenure he worked with international NGO’s to support educational reform among former Soviet Republics following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He continued working for educational reform in the Balkans following the wars in the 90’s and in Liberia following their civil wars. Sam’s interest in marginalized youth led him to join Sunday’s Child as a means to support those who face exclusion and discrimination due to their sexual and gender identities.
Booth Iburg grew up in TN in a family of educators. She graduated from Huntingdon College, Texas Woman’s University, and Episcopal Divinity School. She has been a Physical Therapist since 1976, and was the first full time PT for Gulf Breeze Hospital and helped develop their Orthopedic Service. In 2007 her career path led her into the ministry. After graduating from Episcopal Divinity School in 2011, she was ordained in 2013 and presently serves as pastor at Eternal Hope United Church of Christ.
Booth is married to Denise Williams (legally in 2008) and they have been together since 1989. They both have been on the front lines for equality and have been outspoken concerning not only rights for LGBT but also for the homeless. She and Denise have 4 children, numerous grandchildren, and 2 dachshunds.
Booth has been a member of Sunday’s Child since its inception and became a Board member in the fall of 2017.
Blair is the owner/manager of Shook PR, a public relations firm specializing in campaign and reputation management. She earned a BA in political science/pre-law from UWF at the age of 19, followed by a MS in entertainment business from Full Sail University, a Graduate Certificate in conflicts from religious traditions from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a JD from the Barry University School of Law.
Blair serves on the boards of Panhandle Tiger Bay, Keep Pensacola Beautiful, the West Florida Collaborative Law Group, Sunday’s Child, and the Institute for Women in Politics of Northwest Florida. She is also active in the Pensacola Young Professionals, the EscaRosa Financial Stability Coalition, and ECCPTA.
Blair has worked a wide array of worked national, state and local campaigns for the past 13 years on both sides of the fence, with an emphasis in strategy, messaging, and digital marketing. She is a proud West Pensacola native, passionate about growing the west side, is the and mother of two wonderful children- Desmond (11) and Juliet (4).
Marla Hecht, a St. Louis native always dreamed of calling the Florida Gulf Coast home, in 2001 she relocated to Pensacola, Florida. Marla has spent the last 17 years focusing on local economic development in a broad range of industries. Her work within the Pensacola business community was recognized with a nomination for Outstanding Women in Business by the Pensacola News Journal. Marla is a graduate of Leadership Pensacola and actively involved in initiatives that promote Pensacola’s growth. An advocate for everyone having a voice she volunteers in our community through local nonprofit organizations. Marla continues her commitment to an inclusive Pensacola as a member of Sundays Child Board of Directors.
When she is not working you will find her with her feet in the sand at one of our local beaches. She and her partner, Sherri Morris enjoy travel, camping, bicycling and exploring the beauty of Northwest Florida.
Shelley Gourley was raised in Pensacola, FL. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Comparative Religion from UWF. After many years working in sales and operations management in San Diego, Atlanta, Tallahassee and the DC area, Shelley returned to Pensacola and served as the Ticketing Director for the Pensacola Pelicans for 5 years. With a strong desire to help others, she made the decision to change careers and became a Registered Nurse a few years ago. She is currently practicing in Pensacola. She is a “big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters and volunteers with the Council on Aging. She is passionate about learning, trying new things and connecting with others. Shelley lives in downtown Pensacola with her husband, Richard and their rescue dog, Goose.
Kathy Decker retired in Pensacola after working 33 years in the healthcare field in San Francisco. Born in Honolulu, she received her BA English from California State University - Chico and her MA in Health Care from the University of Humanistic Studies. Kathy served on the Healthcare Advisory Board of Marin County, CA, the Advisory Board for the San Francisco Golden Gate Transit System and the Board of the Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance – San Francisco Lodge. Presently she is a member of Sunday’s Child and Impact 100, and volunteers at Manna Food Pantries and with the United Way Escambia County in ECARE, as a CERT member, and with the Youth Mentoring Program. In 2015 and 2016 she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Besides volunteering, and helping to manage a charity she helped co-found, Kathy enjoys sports and activities with her husband, friends and her beloved dachshunds.
Jonathan Kusnerek is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Pensacola, Florida. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 with a focus in ceramics and painting. His work is inspired by nature, folklore, and the play between form and functionality. Jonathan currently teaches ceramics at First City Art Center in downtown Pensacola.
Stephen is a native of Pensacola. He is married to Rev. Ron Helms-MacBeth. He graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Business Administration, in 1993. Stephen is a manager in the Financial Institutions Advisory Group at Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund, where he holds the certifications of Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) and Certified AML and Fraud Professional (CAFP). He has been working in the financial institutions industry since 1992, concentrating primarily on compliance, operations and policies and procedures.
Trudy was born in California, raised in Michigan, then Alabama; where she currently resides with her husband Gerald King. While raising her three children Trudy ran a boarding stable where she taught horseback riding, hosted clinics, and participated in horse shows. She later became an aerobics instructor and certified personal trainer. She pushed herself by competing in biathlons, triathlons, marathons, body building and power lifting. Her love of helping others kept her motivated discipline in helping to train her clients toward better health for twenty-five years. Recently retired, she has become more focused on community service. In the past, Trudy has served as a board member of the Gulf Coast Arts Council and built homes with Habitat for Humanity. Currently she continues her service by volunteering at Manna Food Pantry Garden, and has joined Sunday's Child and Impact 100. She looks forward to continuing her effort to benefit our local communities.
David Ard is a native Pensacolian. His mother, Denise, is a Navy brat and David’s father John, while born in New Orleans, lived here almost all his life. In December 2004, David received his bachelor’s in accounting, and then went on to get his master’s in accounting two years later, both from UWF. One tax season at a local accounting firm demonstrated that he’s more suited for private industry than public practice. However, as an occasional glutton for punishment, David decided to sit for the CPA exam after having been out of school for several years, and passed it in the first part of 2014. Since August of 2008 he has been the CFO of CPC Office Technologies, a local office equipment dealer. In his down time, David enjoys spending time with his Labrador retriever, Ruben.
Ann grew up in Northern Virginia but has called Pensacola home since 1997. She received her bachelor and medical degree from the University of Virginia. She completed her internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She discovered Pensacola and met her husband Bob Hoyt while both of them were physicians at the Naval Hospital. Since retiring after 26 plus years in the Navy, she enjoys being a community volunteer. She is an Escambia County School and Take Stock in Children mentor, a “Big Couple” for Big Brothers Big Sisters, member of IMPACT 100 and a volunteer for other nonprofits including Pensacola MESS Hall, Friends of the Library, PYC Satori Foundation. She enjoys sailing and living in a vibrant downtown with Bob and their dog Pooh Bear.
Justin moved to Northwest Florida in June 2009 from Flushing, Michigan to escape the harsh Michigan winters. Shortly after relocating, Justin met his husband Thomas and moved to Pensacola, FL. He and Thomas recently welcomed baby Austin to their family in July 2018. Justin is a business manager for JDNT Holdings, LLC where he helps manage a variety of family-owned business. He is also licensed EMT and works PRN at Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Santa Rosa County. Justin is currently enrolled at Troy University and working toward a degree in business administration. Justin has a passion for volunteer work. He is actively involved with multiple non-profits in the Pensacola area. When not working or volunteering, Justin spends his time with family and travels as much as possible. Justin joined Sunday’s Child in 2017 and became a board member in 2019.
PAST PRESIDENT & FOUNDING MEMBER — CHUCK PRESTI
Dr. Chuck Presti moved to Florida in 1975 from Ohio, and has been a resident of Pensacola since 1991. He is a graduate of Stetson University and received his MD from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He practiced Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology for 15 years, and most recently enjoys working in Healthcare Information Technology.
He is a past board member of the Pensacola Heritage Foundation and a rowing enthusiast. He is married to Mike Bruce, another board member and founder of Sunday’s Child. They have a son and daughter and two grandchildren.