Debra Evans – California
Debra Evans is a dedicated advocate and leader of programs and initiatives benefiting children with special needs and their families. She is the founder of MNO Southern California, a support group for over 200 families of children with special needs and is mom to her amazing 7 year old son, John David who has exceptional needs. As a Parent mentor she works on behalf of other moms of children born prematurely and has worked tirelessly to support equal access for people with disabilities in schools, religious settings and in the community. She is a facilitator for the Protecting God’s Children Program, an adult awareness training program developed to help prevent child sexual abuse. She spent eighteen years working in arts education, arts advocacy and arts management. As the former Director of Education for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Washington National Opera, she was responsible for the development and management of opera education and community programs that served over 250,000 children and adults of all abilities worldwide. She holds a MS in Education and Museum Leadership from Bank Street College, and a BM in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America.
Hanan Waite – Georgia
Hanan Waite, a neonatal nurse in Atlanta was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. Waite lost both her parents at an early age due to the country’s lack of good basic healthcare. After being adopted, she relocated to America in 1997. In 2011, Waite gave birth to her son, Ramzi, 2.5 months prematurely. A 10-week stint in the NICU found the fragile infant’s good days flip-flopping with bad. Preeclampsia threatened the lives of both Waite and her baby. Waite knew that she would have to do something to help the mothers and babies in Ghana, who do not have access to proper healthcare. in 2012, she founded Earth’s Angels, a non profit organization to help eradicate maternal and infant mortality one mother and baby at a time. She since then has facilitated medical aid locally, in Gwinnett county, to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and 3 hospitals in Ghana.
Patricia Kempthorne – Idaho
Patricia Kempthorne has dedicated her work life and her life’s work to building a family-consciousness in her family, workplace, and community. After graduating with a degree in business management from the University of Idaho, and as a young mother, she chose to build her career in the non-profit sector and community service. In 2014 she was given an honorary doctorate in Administrative Policy from the University of Idaho. A champion for families and children, she was able to shine a spotlight on the issues closest to her while serving as Idaho’s first lady from 1999 to 2006. Patricia volunteered her time to ensure that Idaho continues to be the best place to raise a family. In 2005, she created the Twiga Foundation, Inc. – a non-profit dedicated to continuing that work in organizations through educating them about work-life fit, flexibility, and effectiveness for working parents. Today, the Twiga Foundation focuses on parent engagement and early learning opportunities. A leading advocate for women, families, and children, Mrs. Kempthorne serves on a number of boards, including , Parents as Teachers National Board of Directors, where she serves as Vice Chair, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital Advisory Board, Executive Committee and as the Chairman of the Idaho Food Bank Capital Campaign. Patricia and her husband, Dirk, were married in 1977, have two grown children and three, soon to be four, grandsons.
Marta Gabre-Tsadick – Indiana
Marta Gabre-Tsadick, the daughter of poor parents serving with missionaries was born in Ethiopia in 1932. After completing her university education, she studied abroad at Adams State College in Colorado, where she completed her Bachelor of the Arts degree in 1958. After graduation, Marta returned to serve the Ethiopian government in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she held several different posts until 1967. In 1968, Marta was appointed to Parliament and became the first woman Senator of Ethiopia. After the communist coup in Ethiopia in 1975, Marta and her family became a target for persecution and were forced to flee their country to later be granted visas to the United States. This remarkable journey of her family can be read about in her book, Sheltered by the King. In 1977, Marta Gabre-Tsadick, and her husband, Demeke Tekle-Wold, established Project Mercy which continues to provide the vehicle for Marta to feed, clothe, and educate countless people, largely focusing her efforts on children. She continues to be an impassioned and knowledgeable advocate for the destitute, as well as an author, challenging speaker, businesswoman, mother, grandmother, and servant to all those in need.
Susan Winchester – Oklahoma
In addition to owning her own consulting business, The Winchester Group, Susan Winchester currently serves as President of the Research Institute for Economic Development, a pro-economic growth development business that works to ensure Oklahoma’s legislative leaders are working toward progressive business ventures and policy initiatives. Prior to her career with RIED, Winchester served 10 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, serving as Oklahoma’s first female Pro-Tempore. In addition, she serves on the executive boards for the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, is a Regent for the Regional University System of Oklahoma and is a board member for the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits, the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, Foundation for Excellence, the Oklahoma Heritage Association, Rotary Club 29, and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Foundation. She is married to Supreme Court Justice Jim Winchester. Together they have a son, Davis.