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Leadership

Suzette Yelder

Director of Foster Care

Suzette is a 20+ year veteran in the human services field with most of her tenure being dedicated to services for children and families. During her tenure, Suzette has worked in for-profit, non-profit and governmental arenas including the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, where she served as a Foster Care Supervisor and Child Protective Services Administrator. Suzette has held numerous other positions in the human service field including risk management, performance improvement, quality management, program development, policy and accreditation oversight, database development, implementation, and training.
Suzette is currently completing her Doctorate Degree in Organizational Leadership at Argosy University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Brooklyn College, a Master of Science Degree from Metropolitan College of New York in Human Service Administration, and a Master Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University and has been a licensed social worker since 2007.

Shalondra Young

Director of Programs

Shalondra is the Director of Programs for UMCH’s community-based residential program for transitional living program for youth aging out of foster care and homeless families. She is a human services advocate who is passionate about education, growth, and mentorship in the lives of young people. Before her relocation to Atlanta, Shalondra served on several statewide and community boards advocating for change, transformation, and equality in the lives of underprivileged youth. She has actively worked on boards and committees in the areas of Domestic Minor Human Trafficking, The Homeless Coalition, Florida REACH Educational Initiative, Florida Children’s First Legal Services, The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning Workgroup, and Florida Delinquency Reentry Workgroups.

Shalondra believes that every child deserves a second chance. She obtained her BA from the University of South Florida and MBA from the University of Phoenix. Shalondra began her work in Florida working under the Department of Children and Family as a child welfare advocate. Her work has included helping teens and young adults in the foster care system to develop independent living life skills, gainful find employment and successful graduate high school and enroll in post-secondary schooling. Shalondra was an active part of two major statutes passed in Florida in 2014 “The Extended Foster Care Law” and “The Let Kids Be Kids Law.” Shalondra is known for her unique ability to define 360-degree roadmaps to success. Inspiring people to continually push the boundaries of possibilities.

Kate Schrum

Director of Development

Before joining the organization in March 2017, Kate worked in development at Agnes Scott College, where she served first as associate director of capital gifts before becoming their director of corporate and foundation relations. She played a strong role in the largest comprehensive campaign in the college’s history, which exceeded the $100 million goal by securing gifts and commitments totaling $115.9 million. Along with her higher education background, Kate brings her database management, prospect research and volunteer management experience in both the non-profit and private sectors to UMCH. Her work at The Children’s Home connects her with major gift, foundation, corporation, civic and individual mail and legacy donors.

Kate grew up in the United Methodist Church and the philanthropic world. Her father is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church who has spent his career in development. For Kate, private partnerships center around the powerful connection that occurs when people’s passion to make a difference meets mission; a connection that has the power to transform both the donor’s life and the life of the organization.

A native of Texas, Kate has called Decatur home for the last 11 years. Outside of UMCH, Kate enjoys spending time with family and friends and her dog, Wallace. When not at the office, you can find Kate gardening, dabbling in random artistic endeavors and planning her next trip abroad.

Kate graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Agnes Scott College with a degree in history, where her research focused on the student groups who led the Mississippi Freedom Summers of the Civil Rights Movement.

Rev. Dave Allen Grady

Director of Church Relations

Dave Allen Grady was appointed to The United Methodist Children’s Home in June 2016. His vision is that all of God’s children might live a graceful response to God’s love in Jesus. An Elder in the United Methodist Church, Dave leads the Church Relations Team. This team seeks to deepen the relationship with churches across North Georgia so that, together, we might be in ministry with more children and families. He loves the church, eclectic worship, and has a passion for social justice.

Dave comes to The Children’s Home having served various sized churches in the North Georgia Conference, North Alabama Conference, and The Methodist Church of Great Britain. A leader in the North Georgia Conference, he currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Conference’s Board of Connectional Ministries. He has taught in Candler School of Theology’s License of Pastoral Ministry Program and Course of Study. He has also served as a reserve delegate to the 2012 & 2016 General Conferences and delegate to the 2012 & 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. He is a graduate of The University of Alabama and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking, and running. Dave is married to The Reverend Susan Allen Grady, Pastor of Embry Hills United Methodist Church. They have a daughter, Joy, who loves gymnastics and soccer. An avid reader, she also considers herself an aspiring artist

Mary Meyer

Director of Performance & Quality Improvement

Mary is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 25 years of experience in project management, international business, and management.
Her diverse background includes leading infrastructure and software project efforts at The Home Depot and Turner Broadcasting to directing global training programs and managing customer service teams. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a focus on International Trade and Finance from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA and her PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.
She began her tenure at The United Methodist Children’s Home in January of 2016 as a Project Manager. In early 2017, she accepted the newly-created Director role to lead the performance and quality improvement initiatives and efforts for the organization. She facilitates process discussions and encourages collaborative improvements. She helps teams define clear goals and track progress. She also manages the internal Risk Assessment and Prevention Committee activities.

Al Shugart

Director of Material Management

Al comes to the UMCH from working with a local non-profit, HouseProud Atlanta’s Inc., where he served for 2 ½ years as Program Manager performing no-cost housing rehabilitation for senior citizens living in the Southwest Atlanta area. In this role, he supervised and performed a variety of jobs related to repairs for senior citizens who could not afford the demands of keeping their residence in working order. As HouseProud is a volunteer-driven organization, Al was also responsible for leading all the volunteer workdays HouseProud performed with its corporate and community volunteer groups. In 2017 this amounted to 40+ such events, involving more than 950 individual volunteers.

Prior to working with HouseProud, Al was Owner / Operator of Shugart Remodeling Inc. for 30+ years. His company specialized in the high-end market of kitchen, basement and bathroom remodeling projects. While in operation the company developed a design-build driven method for the company operation. He attained his Georgia state contractor’s license when this program was implemented statewide in Georgia in 2006. He is proud that he has accomplished two major milestones in a builder’s career, building his own “dream” home and building his own company office, both from the ground up.

Al now resides in the Tucker area with his wife Beth. They are adoptive parents of Carly [25] and DJ [22]. For many years Al has been an avid road cyclist. He and Beth’s recent vacation was the Hikes and Bikes tour of 3 cities in South Carolina. Al is currently serving as a rotating Sunday School teacher for the 2nd and 3rd grade class at Duluth First United Methodist church where Beth is an Associate Pastor on staff.

Belinda Reese

Human Resources Manager

Belinda is a highly skilled and qualified HR professional with more than 10 years’ experience in diverse aspects of human resource consulting, management, coaching and team development. Belinda has extensive experience in the non-profit and public sectors with a proven ability to motivate and mobilize employees as well as improve processes to achieve desired departmental and organizational results. Belinda’s considers it a great privilege to contribute to a healthy, productive organizational climate serve the needs of UMCH.

Belinda, a self-described coffee house junkie, considers her life’s purpose is to assist people in maximizing their personal power through self-discovery.
Her personal mantra is “whatever you encounter in life, take the opportunity to find and use your ability to make it better”

Sharon Brewer

Volunteer Manager

Sharon provides leadership and oversight to the Care Connection volunteer ministry to support foster families; individual and group volunteer opportunities; the UMCH Alumni Group; and the UMCH Auxiliary and Flea Market. Sharon has been with The Children’s Home since 2013 when she served as Christmas Coordinator. In 2014 she joined the Foster Care staff briefly in an administrative support role before transitioning to Volunteer Services as Volunteer Coordinator. Sharon obtained a bachelor’s degree in Drama from Florida Southern College and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The University of Virginia. She was with the Alliance Theatre for 30 years; she served for 12 years as Director of Education and developed business communication skills training programs utilizing theater techniques.

Gus Brown

Controller

Augustin (Gus) K Brown- Serves as the Controller and manages the accounting operation of The United Methodist Children’s Home. He has extensive experience working in nonprofit management and has the inimitable skill to cultivate business acumen and provide strategic leadership to UMCH.

Gus previously worked as Controller at Camden Coalition and Accounting Director at Philadelphia Works, the city workforce investment board. In both roles, Gus provided successful leadership to staff and communicated the organization financial performance.

He holds a BBA in Finance and Accounting from Temple University and an MBA in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire.

Mary Vincent

Vice President of Programs

Mary provides executive leadership and oversight to the Foster Care, Family Housing, Transitional Living, and Independent Living programs. Mary has been with The Children’s Home since 2005 when she joined the organization as a foster care worker. In 2010, she took on the role of Independent Living Program manager, before returning to the Foster Care Program in 2011 as the Program Director. Mary is a graduate of the University of Georgia where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s Degree in Social Work.

Thea Chamberlain

Vice President of Human Resources

Thea is a Human Resources professional with over 25 years of experience at major companies like Regions Bank, The Coca-Cola Company, ADP, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, The Travelers Companies, and Georgia Power.  Her knowledge and expertise includes Workforce Planning, Employee Relations, Workplace Investigations, Career Counseling, Performance Management, Compensation, and Recruiting.

She is accustomed to leading numerous internal teams in office locations across the nation.  While at The Coca-Cola Company Thea received the Mega-Tag award voted by the executive committee for project work on redesign of Corporate Performance Management system. She led the reorganization during Ernst & Young merger with Cap Gemini resulting in appropriate business and mentoring alignment of 6000 Americas consulting professionals resulting in 93% satisfaction rating from leadership and staff. At Traveler’s she was recognized for superior performance on special project work with an Outstanding Achievement Award.

Versed in Acquisitions and Mergers, Training, Change Management, and Culture initiatives, Thea implemented programs like “Who moved my cheese”, “Safe to Say” executive awareness, and “Build the Best Team” mentoring initiatives.

Thea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Georgia and is a member of the National Society for Human Resource Professionals and volunteers for United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia.

Stephen Cossett

Vice President of Information Technology and Operations Support

Stephen worked for Primerica Life Insurance, where he served in various roles since 2000, including, Lead Engineer, Team Lead, Associate Vice President of Distributed Systems, and most recently, Electronics Communications Manager. Prior to his employment with Primerica, Stephen spent some time as a consultant with Healthlink Incorporated, a Project Manager with Abaco Mobile, and a Technical Project Manager and System Integrator with McKesson HBOC.

Also, having served in the U.S. Navy as an Electronics Technician, Stephen brings a wide range of experience and expertise to The United Methodist Children’s Home and a wealth of knowledge directly connected to controlling and evaluating electronic data operations.

A passionate dog lover and dedicated husband, Stephen understands the importance of service unto others. Stephen and his wife, Tanya, live in Tucker, Georgia with their two rescued dogs, Buddy and Annika. During his free time, Stephen enjoys visiting the mountains and vacationing with his wife. Raised in Griffin, Georgia, Stephen watched his mom work for a non-profit organization and find purpose in helping others.

His business philosophy expresses the need to utilize information technology to enhance organizational capacity and sustain the organizational mission of The United Methodist Children’s Home. Stephen truly believes that the more sophisticated the virtual work processes, the greater the strategic potential to meet organizational goals; helping execute our mission of deliverance and service to children and families in need.

Joshua Harrelson

Vice President of Advancement

Joshua provides strategic leadership for all aspects of The Children’s Home development, fundraising and marketing initiatives that are aligned with the vision, mission and goals of the ministry.

Joshua brings several years of advancement experience, marketing strategy and fundraising success to The Children’s Home. He previously held advancement, marketing and strategic partnership positions at Point University, North American Mission Board and Atlanta Mission.
During his tenure at Point University, alumni giving doubled, year over year revenue grew by 33 percent and the donor acquisition rate grew over 10 percent. He also led the development of a new brand strategy at North American Mission Board.

An ordained minister, Joshua comes to The Children’s Home eager to engage in care, as Christ cares, with children and families who come from challenging situations and to be their advocate.

Joshua, a graduate of the University of Colorado and outdoor enthusiast, lives on a farm with his wife of 14 years, Pattie, and their three children.

Stan Reiff

Chief Financial Officer

Stan Reiff is Chief Financial Officer of The United Methodist Children’s Home. Stan’s professional experience includes over 30 years in ministry operations, public accounting, government accounting, and international missions. He has a unique ability to balance strategic thinking with a deep knowledge of and hands-on experience in the day-to-day operations of many types of organizations. His civic and professional involvement entails membership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Christian Leadership Alliance and Georgia Society of CPAs. An ordained minister, Stan is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Alaska and Georgia.

Stan obtained his bachelor’s degree from Hobe Sound Bible College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.

Rev. Hal Jones

President & CEO

Hal is an ordained Elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and an accomplished business executive and leader. In his various leadership roles at Emory Healthcare and beyond, Hal has accrued training and deep experience in organizational and team development, leadership development, conflict management, strategic planning, systems and process analysis, quality improvement and customer service. Hal has been driven by his vision of one day using his talents in direct service to the North Georgia Conference and its ministries.

Following a six-year appointment at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church from 1978-1984, Hal became Chaplain and Coordinator of Staff Support Services at Emory’s Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta. Hal thereafter became the Director of Management Support Services for the hospital and led Crawford Long’s newly launched quality improvement initiative. Subsequently, he became the Director of the Division of Quality Management at Crawford Long.

Hal has accumulated 25 years of leadership experience serving in a variety of roles, including Vice President for Quality at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, and Sr. Vice President for The Betty Ford Center, also in Rancho Mirage. In 2003, Hal was hired as the Chief Operating Officer at Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta. Hal returned to Emory in 2006 ultimately becoming Director of Emory Healthcare’s Office of Care Transformation. In 2015, Hal became Assistant Dean at Emory’s School of Medicine.

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