Amy ChoiCOO Fuel Consulting
Amy has supported Adoptions Together for nearly eight years in various capacities on the Board. The mission of Adoptions Together had been part of Amy’s family since she was a child, when her parents were involved with an adoptions organization.
Her parents, who emigrated to the U.S. from South Korea, worked with adoptive parents who have adopted children from East Asia assimilate to their new family and home. Amy learned from engaging with these children how brave yet lonely it is to not speak the same language or eat the same food as their family.
Fast forward decades later, Amy sought out Adoptions Together, who carried out the mission of creating families. As the COO for Fuel Consulting, she carries this perspective and compassion to her clients to help them create solutions. For the past 16 years, Amy has supported clients’ new initiatives and demonstrating progress to stakeholders, resulting in steady growth.
Eric LewisMarket President, Suburban Maryland, BB&T
Eric Lewis serves as the Suburban Maryland Market President for BB&T, leading the commercial banking team in the coordination and promotion of the Bank’s image within the Montgomery and Prince George’s County community. He and his direct reports are responsible for developing and managing financial relationships for business entities that generate annual revenues of $10 million to $75 million. Eric has been with BB&T for 15 years.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Eric received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Maine in 1999. Having received a full athletic scholarship, he was a four year starter at cornerback for the Division I-FCS Maine Black Bears football team, earning All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors for both play on the field and academic class work. Later in his BB&T career, Eric graduated from the BB&T Banking School at Wake Forest University in 2008.
After realizing that some very close friends of his adopted their son utilizing the services of Adoptions Together, Eric met with Janice Goldwater to learn more about the organization and now currently serves as a Director on their Board of Directors.
Eric also currently serves as a Director on the Doctor’s Community Hospital Foundation Board, and serves on Junior Achievement’s Prince George’s County Finance Park Advisory Council. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Volunteers of America Chesapeake, the Howard Community College Education Foundation, the ARC of Howard County, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, and the Baltimore Dyslexia Tutoring Program.
Eric is a graduate of the 2017 Class of Leadership Greater Washington and the 2012 Class of Leadership Howard County. He and his wife, Ariel Lewis, live in Ellicott City, Maryland with their seven-year-old daughter, Selena, and their two-year-old son, Cruz.
Jennifer FarlandConsultant, Engage
Throughout her career, Jennifer has been an effective catalyst for strategic communications and event/program management. Her career spans over 20 years and includes stints as a press secretary on Capitol Hill, on-air television news reporter, and public relations consulting.
In her current role as founder of ENGAGE! !—j.farland consulting, Jennifer works with a variety of clients to help solve challenges and seek new opportunities to expand current situations through message development, communications, project management, and events. Her full range of communications guidance and project management expertise ensures clients deliver on their value proposition.
Before starting her own consulting practice, Jennifer was the Director of Community Relations at Fannie Mae, where she was responsible for developing and leading the company’s efforts on maximizing the impact their employees’ resources had on meeting the company’s mission, and overseeing the execution of the company’s flagship community outreach program, Help the Homeless, raising over $85 million for homeless service providers.
Prior to her appointment to Director of Community Relations, Jennifer was the Director of Regional Management and Housing Partnerships, where she oversaw and managed the events of 50+ satellite offices across the country.
Prior to Adoptions Together, Jennifer was a board member with World Child, an international adoption agency.
Rick LoberVice President & General Manager, Defense & Intelligence Systems, Hughes Network Systems
Rick adopted his daughter 29 years ago through Families for Private Adoption, the precursor to Adoptions Together, which was then led by Janice Goldwater. He and his spouse Annette also adopted a son from Latvia and had a biological son a few years later. Rick now serves on the Board of Directors for Adoptions Together and is interested in supporting the growth and financial stability of the organization.
Rick and Annette enjoy sailing and sailboat racing and live in the historic district of Annapolis, Maryland. Rick has raced to Bermuda and Newport, but also enjoys sailing the Chesapeake with family and friends. He is an electrical engineer by training and leads the Defense Sector at Hughes Network Systems in Germantown, Maryland, working in the area of satellite communications.
Rick has served on numerous boards, including charitable groups such as the Salvation Army and various science and tech non-profits. He received his MSEE from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, holds a patent in and has written numerous articles on wireless communications, and is a licensed USCG Captain.
Mary Lynn AlbertiProduct Development Director, Single-Family Strategic Delivery division, Freddie Mac
Mary Lynn Alberti is product development director in the Single-Family Strategic Delivery division. She is responsible for the technology planning and implementation of enhancements to the Single-Family loan delivery system and is accountable for implementing and maintaining the Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD).
Ms. Alberti leads several business transformation efforts focused on improving loan delivery quality while providing greater transparency to customers. Her team is accountable for managing industry-wide transformation efforts and collaborating with external and internal business partners to define solutions to address customer and Freddie Mac needs.
A veteran of over 30 years in the financial services and technology delivery fields, she joined Freddie Mac in 1993, and again in 2000, and has held a variety of leadership roles within the Single-Family organization. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Ms. Alberti held leadership positions with Mellon Bank and FiServe.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in information systems from Duquesne University.
Michele Thoren-BondFormer Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Retired Ambassador
Michele Thoren Bond is a former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, with expertise in visa and immigration policy, crisis management, intercountry adoption and public advocacy. A former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho, she served as a Foreign Service Officer for 40 years.
Ambassador Bond was the official face of U.S. adoptions during her tour at Embassy Moscow, meeting with court and orphanage officials, and appearing on Russian public media, to counter skepticism about foreign adoptions. In 2010, she led a U.S.-Haitian initiative to accelerate the departure of hundreds of orphans whose adoptions by American families were pending when the earthquake struck. In 2015, she spearheaded an international effort to resolve a two-year suspension of adoptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ambassador Bond is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a national network of volunteers who work as advocates and mentors for children in foster care. An honors graduate of Wellesley College, she earned master’s degrees at Georgetown University and the National War College. Her husband, Clifford G. Bond, is also a retired diplomat and a former U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have four adult children, and live in Washington DC.
Thomas R BurtonChief Operating Officer and Chief Investment Officer, Alex. Brown Realty
Thomas Burton is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Investment Officer at Alex. Brown Realty (“ABR”). Mr. Burton has been associated with ABR since 1992 and is a member of its Board of Directors. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Burton was employed at USF&G and Ernst & Whinney.
Mr. Burton received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his BA from the University of Maryland. He is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant. Mr. Burton is a full member of the Urban Land Institute, where he serves on the Small Scale Development Council, and a Supporting Member of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School. Mr. Burton is also member of Gamma Chi Foundation for Education, as well as the Board of Governors for the Maryland Club. Mr. Burton has previously served as an Adjunct Professor in graduate real estate programs at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University.
Bob CecilPrincipal, Business Services Transformation Leader, KPMG LLP
Bob Cecil is a Partner at KPMG where he helps some of the world’s most respected companies transform their business services. He has particular expertise in leading complex multifunctional global improvement initiatives across a variety of general and administrative services such as Finance, HR, IT, and Procurement. He keeps abreast of leading practices and market trends from participation in industry advisory councils, facilitation of various conferences and forums, and sponsorship of research.
Bob was a founder of three consulting firms prior to the acquisition of one of these firms by KPMG. He holds a MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.
Bob and his wife live in Great Falls, Virginia and have three children. Two of their children are adopted which drew Bob to the special mission of Adoptions Together building lifelong family connections.
Kimberly DayFounder, Decadent Health
Kimberly was introduced to Adoptions Together in 2016, when she served on the committee for their Taste in Potomac gala. Shortly thereafter, she was asked to serve on the Board of Directors, where she now chairs the Branding Committee.
For the past 15 years, Kimberly has been a writer and editor in the natural health and nutrition field, where she has written thousands of health-focused articles. She co-authored Hormone Revolution with Dr. Susan Lark, served as ghostwriter to Eat Papayas Naked (for Dr. Lark), and was a founding contributor to livestrong.com. Her third book, Forked, is due out in 2018.
A hiking, triathlon, and reality-TV enthusiast, Kimberly lives in Potomac, MD, with her husband and daughter.
Janice Goldwater, MSW, LCSW-CFounder and Executive Director, Adoptions Together
Our Executive Director, Janice, has been with AT since she founded the agency in 1990. Today, Janice’s leadership, vision, and direction guide the future of Adoptions Together in our community. With more than 30 years experience in child welfare and mental health advocacy, as well as raising 4 children who joined her family through birth and adoption, Janice is uniquely qualified to lead the agency as we move into the next 25 years serving families. Janice enjoys taking long walks with her 3 dogs and spending time with her husband and family.
Alyssa HermannVice President – Commercial Relationship Manager, Sandy Spring Bank
Alyssa has worked in the financial services industry since 2014. As a commercial lender at Sandy Spring Bank, she helps local businesses grow and is passionate about making the community a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Alyssa lives in DC with her boyfriend, Aaron, an international trade attorney at Sidley Austin. Both Alyssa and Aaron have been profoundly affected by the positive impact that adoption can have. They discovered Adoptions Together after moving to the area and seeking involvement with an organization whose mission they are both deeply committed to. Alyssa is also a member of the Impact Committee at N Street Village, a community of empowerment and recovery for women.
Originally from St. Louis, Alyssa received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from Saint Louis University. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, photography, and outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, golfing, and scuba diving.
James LeeFirst Vice President Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
James Lee was first introduced to Adoptions Together at their golf fundraising event at Turf Valley Golf Resort in 2017. After the tournament, he met their founder Janice Goldwater who explained their mission to find loving homes for babies and children who were not as fortunate in circumstance as others.
When he found out that Adoptions Together had found loving homes for over 7,000 babies and children since they opened their doors, he decided to get involved.
James is married to Celeste and has two adult children. He started his career at Smith Barney in Washington DC and now works at Merrill Lynch. He was born in South Korea, spent his early years in Uganda, and went to high school in Ohio. He is a graduate of Syracuse University.
Britton PerrySenior Account Manager, Neustar
Britton is a transracial adoptee, adopted by an incredible family as a baby. He has devoted his professional life to teaching, consulting, and technology sales.
Britton has a B.S. in Communications and an M.S. in Information Science. When he isn’t working, he and his wife try to keep up with their amazing tween twins.
Britton and his family enjoy time at the beach, hiking, live music, theater, indoor/outdoor climbing, and board games.
Monique SamuelsTV Personality/Entrepreneur
Monique Samuels, from the Bravo hit show The Real Housewives of Potomac, is an entrepreneur, speaker, media personality, writer, philanthropist, wife and mom. She is known for her accomplishments as well as her ability to balance her personal and professional life and “do it all.”
In addition to her duties on RHOP, Samuels is a weekly lifestyle contributor on NBC’s D.C. Sports Live and is regularly featured on the Fox show Good Day DC, where she does segments focused on parenting, motherhood, and lifestyle tips.
Samuels is the founder and CEO of Not for Lazy Moms, a multi-platform media company that provides a destination and online community for resourceful women who want it all and do it all. What began as a blog has grown into a powerful community where women can find inspiration for maintaining themselves, as well as lifestyle tips and natural alternatives for their families. The website inspired a Not for Lazy Moms podcast, which debuted in August 2018.
Samuels grew up in New Jersey and moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University on a full academic scholarship. She later moved to Washington, D.C. where she met future husband Chris Samuels, a professional football player with the Washington Redskins. The couple married in 2012 and now lives in Potomac, Maryland with their two children.
Paula SkedsvoldScience Policy Consultant
Paula Skedsvold is a Science Policy Consultant who focuses on bridging the worlds of science and policy making. For over ten years, she served as Executive Director and science advocate for the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences. Prior to this, Paula held a number of positions that supported research endeavors and/or linked research and policy, including serving as Science Policy Analyst for the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research; Director of Education Research Policy for the American Educational Research Association; Congressional Science Fellow for Congresswoman (now Speaker) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA); staff for the Social and Behavioral Sciences Working Group of the National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee (an advisory committee of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Scientist in the Public Interest for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; and, Policy Analyst for The Council of State Governments Midwest Office. Paula also worked as Senior Legal Research Analyst for the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center and taught International and Comparative Law on Women’s Human Rights as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law. Paula holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. She has been recognized for her science advocacy skills by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Janet St. Amand
Janet adopted her two sons (Nick in 1997 and Peter in 2000) through Adoptions Together and has supported the organization ever since. She has served on the Board of Directors for Adoptions Together since 2017.
Janet worked in Public Policy/Government Affairs for a number of large banks and banking organizations, including JPMorgan and the American Bankers Association. She retired in 2018 from her position as Senior Vice President for Public Policy for HSBC North America after 21 years with the bank.
Prior to working in Government Affairs for banking organizations, Janet worked in the United State House of Representatives and the Senate. She has served on a number of non-profit Boards, including the Tax Coalition, Women in Housing and Finance, and the Women in Housing and Finance Foundation in Washington, DC, and Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. In addition to the Adoptions Together Board, Janet currently serves on the Board of the Salvation Army National Capital Area Command in Washington, DC.
Janet attended Pennsylvania State University and Arcadia University and has a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is a member of the Bar in Washington, DC, and is retired from the Bar in New York.
Joseph SummerillAttorney, The Summerill Group
Joe and his husband, Wes Bizzell, adopted their son Jake in 2005 through Adoptions Together. Joe served previously on the Board, but stepped off because of the demands of work and being a young father. In 2016, Joe rejoined the Board, hoping to get a “do-over” on his previous service and then went on to become Board Chair in 2017.
Joe, Wes, and Jake are strong advocates for the Heart Gallery, stepping in to keep the gallery funded after Adoptions Together lost its main sponsor. Jake serves as the Heart Gallery’s Youth Ambassador, helping to raise awareness for the plight of children in DC, VA, and MD foster care.
Joe’s background in government contract law has helped the Board better understand the agency’s contracts with DC and MD.
Lori VacekProject Management, Senior, Freddie Mac Corporation
Lori Vacek was first introduced to Adoptions Together when she and her husband adopted their daughter through the agency more than 20 years ago. She also collaborated with Adoptions Together while working as a program manager with the Freddie Mac Foundation, where she managed philanthropic programs supporting the educational needs of low-income children and youth and the permanency needs of youth in foster care. She also served as chief of staff during the two-year wind down of the Freddie Mac Foundation.
Previously, Lori worked as an affiliated advisor for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors where she reported on international corporate community affairs and managed grant-making programs. She also served as acting director for the Levi Strauss Foundation, providing grant-making support to a team of global community relations professionals.
Prior to this, Lori served as the director of corporate services at the Council on Foundations and as a program officer for the Wells Fargo Bank Foundation in San Francisco. Currently, she works at Freddie Mac, supporting customer communications for mortgage loan product offerings. Lori also volunteers annually for the Alumni Selection Committee of the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation in Chicago, her hometown.
Lori holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, a Masters in Public Policy from the Claremont Graduate School/Coro Foundation, and a B.A. in Political Science and Human Services from Washington University in St. Louis.
Lori lives in McLean, VA with her husband and has a 23-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. In her spare time, Lori enjoys yoga, visiting friends and family, outdoor activities, and HGTV.