Staff members at Take Flight with SHIFT NC 2016 benefit auction.
Janeen Gingrich, Interim Chief Executive Officer
Janeen joins SHIFT NC with over 20 years of nonprofit experience in development, program direction, technical assistance, and strategic partnerships. She has spent the past 14 years focused on advancement work for non-profits, with an emphasis on capacity building and organizational development. Her expertise includes annual campaign development, foundation relations, strategic partnership development and board and staff development.
Amy Handler, Evaluation Specialist
Amy oversees evaluation activities for SHIFT NC’s Every Teen Counts and NC Youth Connected initiatives. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, she worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for MEASURE Evaluation, on the Rethinking Sexuality Education for the Population Council, and as a Legislative Aide in the Wisconsin State Senate. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Political Science and Sociology and completed her Master’s in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.
Debbie Engelbrecht, Chief Financial Officer
Debbie has worked in the financial field for 32 years. A native of Zimbabwe, she later moved to South Africa where she met her husband and started a family. She immigrated to the United States more than a decade ago.
Elizabeth Hundley Finley, Director of Strategic Communications
Elizabeth manages communications for SHIFT NC. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, she worked with many of North Carolina’s other leading child advocacy organizations, including The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (Smart Start) and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. Elizabeth is a graduate of Appalachian State University.
Janae’ Roberts, NC Youth Connected Program Specialist
Janae’ is the NC Youth Connected Program Specialist, and focuses on providing direction and technical assistance to all school district, community-based partners, and other human services agencies in Cumberland County. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, Janae’ resided in Atlanta, Georgia where she obtained her Master’s in Public Health from Emory University, with a focus on behavioral science & health education, and worked as a Continuous Quality Improvement Associate at a state foster care & adoption agency. In addition, Janae’ obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Tougaloo College, located in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was able to begin her undergraduate career completing research at Johns Hopkins University and working for The Jackson Heart Study, the largest single-site epidemiologic investigation of cardiovascular disease among African Americans. Janae’ maintains an interest in adolescent & women’s health and community-based program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Jean Workman, Director of Development
Jean is SHIFT NC’s Director of Development and serves as a trainer throughout the state. For over 20 years she has shared her enthusiasm for inspiring competence, confidence, and connectedness with young people and creating magical classroom experiences on the local, state, and national level. She is the co-author of several nationally-recognized, award-winning, research-based sexual health, teen pregnancy prevention, and parental involvement curricula. Jean has a BS in Community Health Education from UNC Greensboro and an MA in Nonprofit Management from High Point University.
Jenny Palmer, School Engagement Specialist
Jenny works with North Carolina schools and school systems to help them make comprehensive sexuality education part of the community norms. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, she was Director of Health Education at Wake Teen Medical Services. One of her main responsibilities there was delivering comprehensive sexuality education in schools after the 2009 passage of the Healthy Youth Act. Jenny has worked with young people for almost 20 years, both in schools and outside, coordinating peer education and youth leadership programs, teaching Spanish, and advocating for youth-friendly health policy. She received her BA from Vanderbilt University and completed her Master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Kate Steber, NC Youth Connected Project Community Coordinator - Cumberland County
Kate coordinates the NC Youth Connected initiative in Cumberland County - a community-wide teen pregnancy prevention approach. Prior to SHIFT NC, Kate facilitated sexual health programming at UNC Student Wellness. She also worked for five years in Washington, DC Public Schools, and two of those years were spent working with high school students on secondary pregnancy prevention. Kate holds master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Kennon E. Jackson, Jr., Director of Technology
Kennon manages the BrdsNBz Text Line System, which includes the North Carolina BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line and franchisees across the country. Kennon has a wealth of experience working with nonprofits, government agencies, and academic institutions, including the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the United States Department of State, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Center for Adolescent Health. He has a BS in Biology from Davidson College, and a Master's in Public Policy from Duke University.
Kia Thacker, Every Teen Counts Project Coordinator & Priority Populations Specialist
Kia leads SHIFT NC's Every Teen Counts Initiative. She previously worked on the Gaston Youth Connected project to create strategies to reach the most vulnerable youth and managed the project’s Teen Action Council. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, Kia worked in substance abuse prevention. She has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MPH from UNC-Greensboro.
Krista Park Berry, Integrated Communications Specialist
Krista works to blend new and traditional media strategies to support programmatic initiatives and amplify the mission of SHIFT NC. With over 16 years of mission-driven experience, she has developed strategic communication campaigns that raise awareness, affect change, and increase engagement. Prior to her work at SHIFT NC, Krista spent a decade on the staff at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (Chapel Hill), and most recently served as the communications and public relations director at Girl Scouts NC Coastal Pines. She holds both a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications and in Women’s Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill.
LaQuana Palmer, Capacity Building Specialist - Juvenile Justice and Older Youth Specialist
LaQuana serves as the Capacity Building Specialist for the Juvenile Justice System and Older Youth Specialist for Young Adults 18 to 19 years of age. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, she provided HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention services at Wake County Human Services. LaQuana earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Master of Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. She also obtained her Certification in Public Health Leadership from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her fellowship in Community Mobilization at the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, California.
Madison Ward, NC Youth Connected Community Coordinator
Madison is a coordinator for NC Youth Connected — an initiative to facilitate coordinated, community-wide approaches to teen pregnancy prevention. In addition, she oversees SHIFT NC's 100 County Campaign in Eastern NC. Prior to SHIFT NC, Madison worked for five years as Director of Adolescent Programs at Compass Center for Women and Families, focusing efforts on primary pregnancy prevention work with middle school girls. Madison holds a Master's in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University and completed her undergrad work at Peace College with a BA in Child Development.
Marcia Swartz, NC Youth Connected Clinic Improvement and Linking Specialist
Marcia is part of SHIFT NC’s NC Youth Connected team working in Cumberland County. Marcia provides technical assistance to health centers on best practices for quality adolescent care and strengthening referral and linking networks to those centers. Marcia has over 20 years of experience working in adolescent and women's reproductive health in a variety of settings, including non-for-profit, state and county agencies, and community health care settings. She received her undergraduate and graduate degree in Social Work with a focus on public health. She has provided numerous trainings and educational programs in institutional and community health settings with diverse population groups.
Melinda DeJongh, Director of Resources and Special Projects
Melinda is SHIFT NC’s lead grant writer, and coordinates the Annual Conference and the Resource Library. She has been with SHIFT NC since 1999, which means she remembers when the fax machine was the most-used piece of technology in the office. Melinda holds a Bachelor’s in English from Guilford College, with a concentration in Women's Studies. Originally from Tennessee, she has lived in North Carolina for most of her life.
Meriel Shire, Clinic Improvement and Linking Specialist
Meriel works with health centers and youth-serving organizations in Durham County, providing technical assistance for best practice promotion and strengthening referral and linking networks as part of the All Together Now initiative. A native of Connecticut, Meriel holds Master's degrees in Public Health and Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Bachelor's degree from Bard College. Before moving to North Carolina, Meriel worked as a Policy Research Assistant for the Contraceptive Choice Center in St. Louis.
Michelle Reese, Senior Clinic Improvement Advisor
Michelle provides leadership and technical assistance to SHIFT NC healthcare improvement and access projects. Having held a similar role in SHIFT NC's Gaston Youth Connected Initiative, she helps the organization respond to growing needs and interest to improve adolescent healthcare in the state. She has more than 14 years of experience working in adolescent reproductive health issues, starting as Director of Community Health Education at the Mecklenburg Council on Adolescent Pregnancy. She has also worked in 4H Youth Development programs, HIV/STI health education, and on health equity initiatives. Michelle has participated in Advocates for Youth’s European Study Tour on adolescent sexual health. She holds a Bachelor’s in Health Promotion from UNC-Charlotte and is a graduate of the Emerging Minority Leaders in Public Health Fellowship at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Patricia Yancey, Director of Public Education
Patricia serves part-time as SHIFT NC’s contract governmental relations consultant. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, most notably as a policy advisor to Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. and as legislative liaison for the NC Department of Public Instruction. Patricia is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and has done coursework at NC Central University, NC State University, and the George Washington University Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program. A Vance County native, she currently lives in Wake and Guilford counties. Patricia was married to the late state Senator William N. Martin.
Pat Hilliard, Human Resources Manager
Pat provides in-office support for training and program activities, as well as coordination for public events. Pat received her Bachelor’s in English and Religion from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
Sally Swanson, Chief Program Officer
Sally oversees SHIFT NC's programs department, the department that coordinates all signature initiatives. She has also earned the alternate title "Director of Awesomeness." Previously, she directed the Gaston Youth Connected initiative, a nationally recognized prevention project that reduced teen birth rates in Gaston County by more than 40%. Sally previously worked in HIV prevention, counseling, and testing, as well as in domestic violence services. She holds Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Sarah Davis, Senior Technical Advisor
Sarah leads SHIFT NC’s All Together Now initiative, focused on improving access to sexual health services for teens and young adults in Durham. In addition, she provides technical support and advisement to multiple other SHIFT NC efforts, working across a variety of health and youth-serving systems. She provides leadership for program planning and resource creation, including past work on the Gaston Youth Connected initiative. Sarah has more than 15 years of experience working to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, from a variety of perspectives. She brings a strong background in applied public health, and has successfully worked in and with healthcare, education, and community-based non-profit organizations. Sarah was a high school teacher with Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta and holds a Master’s of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Tania Connaughton-Espino, NC Youth Connected Project Coordinator
Tania coordinates SHIFT NC’s community-wide initiative (NC Youth Connected) in Cumberland county. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Tania came to North Carolina to obtain her Master’s in Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has worked extensively with the Latino community on reproductive health issues and developed Spanish-language family planning and women’s health resources during her time with the NC Healthy Start Foundation. She also has experience implementing Cuídate!, presenting parent workshops in Spanish encouraging parents to talk to their children about sex, and leading trainings for lay health advisors. Tania served as the Team Leader for the Division of Public Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives (TPPI) and provided technical assistance to TPPI-funded projects in Eastern NC and projects funded under the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP).