UCP is proud to introduce the 2012 Class of UCP Emerging Leaders:

David Bryant, UCP of Greater Birmingham
David F. Bryant serves as the Chief Development Officer for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, overseeing annual giving, public relations, special events and other fund development activities. He joined UCP of Greater Birmingham in May 2011, after four years at Appalachia Service Project. As Chief Philanthropy Officer for ASP, he provided leadership for the ministry’s fundraising campaigns to build relationships and secure support for home repair for Appalachian families in need of warmer, safer and drier homes and to provide a transformational experience for thousands of volunteers from across the nation each year. Formerly the Director of Development at Knox Area Rescue Ministries in Knoxville, Tennessee, Bryant has worked in the fundraising field for the last 11 years. He’s managed very successful direct mail programs, special events, major gift campaigns and other initiatives that have generated millions of dollars for programs for men, women and children dealing with disabilities, homelessness, hunger, addiction and inadequate housing.

With a Master’s degree in social work, Bryant’s other expertise includes a wide range of programmatic and operational experience, from working with children afflicted by abuse to overseeing programs that preserved families, provided a path to sobriety, reduced delinquency and helped homeless people move off the streets into a new life. “Passion, vision and commitment to a nonprofit and its success in creating outcomes that change people’s lives should be something that’s highly contagious, and infect everyone with whom a fundraiser comes into contact. Because when you change the lives of others, they have a way of changing you.”

Nirvana Cobb, UCP of Southeastern Wisconsin
Nirvana Cobb is the Special Events Manager with United Cerebral Palsy of Southeastern Wisconsin, and within her first year she successfully raised $30,000 over the expected budget amount for 2011, a great accomplishment for her first year. Cobb also started a Young Benefactors for UCP-SEW chapter employing 13 young professional individuals as junior board members to assist with all UCP events as volunteers or co-fundraisers.

Born and raised in the East Bay of Northern California, Cobb moved to Milwaukee at the age of 14, graduated from Riverside University High School and attended the Historical Black University, Wilberforce University. Not satisfied that she was receiving the proper training for her career goals, Cobb was accepted into Public Allies Milwaukee (an AmeriCorps program) and worked at the Sherman Park Boys and Girls Club for her program year. This was the start of her work with non-profit organizations. Before deciding to enroll at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Cobb did some traveling and sports marketing and event related internships, most notably with the Chicago Cubs.

Cobb previously worked at Chicago’s number one radio station WGCI, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Chicago Cultural Center and the Illinois Action for Children. Cobb’s career goals mirror her hobbies, planning special events, non-profit fundraising and creating client specific marketing campaigns.

Laura Hickmann, M.P.A., UCP of New York City
Hickmann is the Vice President of Marketing at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. She has been involved in various aspects of non-profit work since 1999. Her focus has been primarily in the service of adults and families, and she has extensive experience with the developmental disabilities service delivery system. Hickmann graduated from Alpena (MI) Community College with an A.A. in Business Management.  She then obtained a B.A. in Human Services from Kennesaw (GA) State University, and her M.P.A. from Metropolitan College of New York.

Janeen Latin, UCP Central PA
Janeen Latin is Director of Development for UCP Central PA and the UCP Foundation of Central PA. She joined the UCP leadership team in January 2005, and is responsible for developing and implementing an annual plan to achieve optimum efficiency and maximum results of all fundraising and development initiatives which includes individual giving, corporate solicitation, special events, grant research and application, and donor relations. In addition, she is responsible for guiding and monitoring the organization’s marketing and communication initiatives and creating an awareness of UCP’s programs and mission throughout our 15 county service areas.

 In 1998, Latin began her work at UCP in Family Support Services, a family driven program for parents, siblings, and extended families of children with disabilities.  She continues to provide oversight of this program to ensure a multi-tiered system of support is available for families.

An avid community volunteer, Latin has served as secretary of the Greater Harrisburg Chapter of the Autism Society of America, and also worked diligently to secure funding and volunteer support to make the Adventure Zone accessible playground project a reality. She is presently active with the Community Carepoint workgroup to secure funding for an accessible fitness trail project in Mechanicsburg, PA and serves on the planning committee for the Easter Seals of Central PA Winter Ball.

Latin earned an AA from Harrisburg Area Community College, and is nearing completion of her BS in Organizational Leadership from Penn State University. She lives in Harrisburg, PA with her husband, Frank. She has four daughters Ashley, Michelle, Krista, and Megan

Beth A. Lucas, MNA, UCP of Greater Cleveland
Beth Lucas is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Development at UCP of Greater Cleveland, which she joined in March of 2008. She has over ten years of experience in fundraising and marketing for Northeast Ohio health and human Services organizations, focusing on corporate support, donor relations, cultivation and stewardship. She holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from John Carroll University, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and volunteers with several organizations throughout the region. In addition to leading the agency’s fundraising and marketing efforts, Lucas oversees agency operational and strategic planning in conjunction with agency leadership and the Board of Directors.

Eunice McCarney, UCP of Baton Rouge
Eunice McCarney is the Development Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Baton Rouge affiliate. In her three years at UCP of Baton Rouge, she has coordinated three successful major events and started a new fundraiser and an awareness event, the “Run,Walk & Roll,” a 5k run/walk. She is also the secretary of Association of Fundraising Professionals of Baton Rouge Chapter in her second term.  McCarney previously was a state legislative intern for a nonprofit lobbyist and has brought those skills to the affiliate. She received a BA in political science from Louisiana State University in 2009.

Tish Pendergast, UCP of Maine
Tish Pendergast has been involved in development and communications in the non profit sector for over 10 years, spending the past five years working in the Resource Development Department at UCP of Maine. Pendergast is a graduate of the Bangor Region Leadership Institute (BRLI) and has studied at Norwich University and University of Maine, Augusta. Currently, she oversees all fundraising, special events, development, marketing and communication efforts for UCP of Maine. She has a passion for making an impact in her community through the work that she does. Pendergast lives in Bangor with her husband Josh and two children, Kelsey (16) and Abraham (2).

Ellie VanderMeuse Roberts, UCP of Southwest Florida
Ellie VanderMeuse Roberts is the Area Director at UCP of Southwest Florida in Naples Florida. She grew up near Green Bay, WI and has worked in Social Work and Education for 20 years. Roberts worked in Job Centers in Wisconsin and worked with Welfare to Work and the Youth Work Experience Program. She was on the Board of Directors for School to Work Coalition and Youth Apprenticeship. In 2004, when the State of Florida began outsourcing Child Welfare services, Roberts created a Foster Home licensing unit. She was successful in transitioning State Employees into the private sector and guided them in licensing 50% more foster homes in the community. Roberts was Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters and successfully rebuilt respect and integrity for an ailing community program while working with Bigs and Littles making lasting matches. Roberts’s goal at UCP is to bring the most valuable employees to work with the most vulnerable people in the community and to help them lead valued, fulfilling lives. Roberts has a deep spiritual faith and also works for St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples where she is the Choir Director and Cantor.  She is a trained Opera singer and performs for charitable functions and concerts throughout SW Florida. Roberts enjoys going to the beach, gardening and reading on those rare occasions when she has leisure time.

Shawn Ricketts, UCP of Metro Boston
Shawn Ricketts is the Director of Residential Supports for UCP of Metro Boston and has been a member of the UCP family for just about ten years. Ricketts oversees all aspects of the twenty-four hour support programs for individuals with varying developmental disabilities. Before joining the UCP family, Ricketts worked as a Direct Support Professional and a Day Habilitation Counselor both in the United States and Canada.

Jamaican by birth, Ricketts grew up in a society that is just now evolving in how they support citizens with disabilities. Over the years, UCP has molded him into a greater advocate in this field. Ricketts has taken on various leadership roles at UCP of Metro Boston, most notably in the area of legislative advocacy and UCP of Metro Boston has afforded Ricketts the opportunity to participate in a Human Services Masters Program at Suffolk University in Boston.

Melissa Sasser, UCP of San Joaquin, Calaveras & Amador Counties
Melissa Sasser is the Program Assistant for United Cerebral Palsy’s Family Respite Program. Her Key Responsibilities include providing excellent customer service to staff, clients and parents, networking families with community resources and performing various management and leadership functions. She is also pursuing her Master’s Degree in Special Education from University of the Pacific, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Diversified Liberal Studies, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2009.  Sasser’s professional interests include researching Autism and Cerebral Palsy, Physical Fitness for Special Needs, and Natural Health and Wellness Nutrition, all interests  cultivated by her own personal life experience with Cerebral Palsy. She has a deep desire for finding non-medical and holistic approaches to the treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions like Autism and Cerebral Palsy. In her spare time,  Sasser enjoys travelling and making and designing greeting cards. She also enjoys working out, and spending time with family, and particularly spoiling her nieces and nephews!

Gina Solberg, PROVAIL
Gina Solberg is the Director of Employment Services at PROVAIL in Seattle, Washington. The employment services provided at PROVAIL specialize in customized employment and transition services. Solberg has been in the field of developmental disabilities for over fifteen years. Solberg is an active member of the Community Employment Alliance and the Washington State Chapter of APSE. Before working in supported employment, Solberg was a program director for an agency providing community living supports for individuals with autism. 

Susan Stenberg-WilsonUCP of Central California
Susan Stenberg-Wilson is the Coordinator of Development, Fund Raising and Marketing with UCP of Central California since January 2011. Since starting with the Central California Affiliate, she has secured a Sales Force grant and has implemented the Data Base Management program; produced a Spanish version of our National PSA, and most recently – is proud to boast that the Central California Affiliate’s 33rd Annual Brian Sturgeon Saint Patrick’s Day Run participation increased 25% and tripled its financial sponsorships.  It’s the most successful event in its 33 year history!   Previously, Stenberg-Wilson was employed in the National Banking Industry. 

Marta Willgoose, United Cerebral Palsy of New York City
Marta Willgoose joined UCP of NYC in January of 2011 as Vice President of Communications, and while this is her first foray into the non-profit world, she is excited to lend her extensive experience in human resources, talent management, and marketing and communications to the role. Willgoose enjoys helping craft UCP of NYC’s stories and publications and is deeply inspired by the individuals and families we serve. She looks forward to continuing to promote the UCP organizational profile, while expanding volunteer leadership and identifying new partners to collaborate with.

When Willgoose is not working or volunteering, she spends time drawing and painting in her art studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  She is a graduate of Marlboro College, in Marlboro, VT.