Travis Staton became President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Southwest Virginia in 2005. Since joining United Way, he has led the organization to a more regional approach to solving some of our area’s greatest issues. Between 2009 and early 2015, he guided the organization through six different mergers and acquisitions from solely serving one county to now serving an entire region. A veteran of the United Way system, he is currently leading a dynamic shift from the United Way being recognized for decades as a premier fundraiser and distributor to an organization focused on a community impact model to improve the region’s health, education, and financial stability.
Since joining the United Way in 2005, he has led the organization to a more regional approach to solving some of the region’s greatest issues. Between 2009 and early 2015, he guided the organization through seven different mergers and acquisitions from solely serving one county to today serving 13 counties and 2 cities, covering over 5,000 square miles, approximately 15% of the state. Since this time, he has lead the organization to successfully create new initiatives to meet community needs and has taken them to scale to serve the region. These initiatives have received high honors and support from national outlets such as the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In November 2017, the organization became one of the inaugural recipients of the Virginia Governor’s Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education for its achievements in preparing students for the New Virginia Economy through the Ignite Program.
He currently serves as a Regional Council Member for GO Virginia, a Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity initiated by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council and the Council on Virginia’s Future to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education, and government. In 2018, he was appointed to the United Southeast Federal Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee which has powers to evaluate board officials and oversees the annual audit and assures that the credit union’s financial records and internal controls are in place to protect the assets of members as required by the Federal Credit Union Act.
In November 2017, he was asked to join the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and a team of Virginia’s key leaders and national experts to generate actionable information for an effective early childhood system in Virginia through creation of an early childhood integrated data system.
In September 2017, he was invited by the Virginia Secretary of Education to serve on the Virginia Department of Education School Readiness Committee’s Finance and Compensation Workgroup. The Committee, created by the Virginia General Assembly, periodically reviews the goals and other priorities within the early childhood care and education systems and makes recommendations to various policymakers. Currently, the Committee is working to address the development and alignment of an effective professional development and credentialing system for the early childhood education workforce in the Commonwealth.
In the spring of 2015, he was asked to bring professional expertise to bear and serve as Co-Chair of Ballad Health’s Healthy Children & Families Workgroup. Through this effort he convened a community work group of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia stakeholders to provide analysis of key community health issues and to develop a set of health priority areas and prevention strategies for the region, ultimately contributing to the production of a region-wide health intervention plan for Ballad Health.
In 2013, he led the creation of the Southwest 2020 Collaborative by hosting a regional leader’s summit as a first step in helping key community stakeholders refine their work, share knowledge and explore ways to improve Southwest Virginia’s economy through collective impact. During this same year, he was recognized by The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia as one of the region’s top business professionals receiving a 40 Under Forty Award.
Between 2011 and 2013, Staton oversaw Washington County Virginia’s long-term recovery efforts from a natural disaster the community experienced in April of 2011. During this time he provided fiscal management for the Governor of Virginia’s disaster assistance fund. He was responsible for the oversight of millions of dollars of government and private funding to assist disaster victims.
He has served on the United Way Worldwide’s Small to Midsize U.S. Field Team and in 2016 was asked to serve on the Community Leaders Conference Planning Committee, where he assisted in bringing together executives, volunteers, and community leaders from nearly 1,800 United Way communities from around the globe.
A native of Southwest Virginia, he attended East Tennessee State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He currently resides in Abingdon, Virginia with sons Parley, Kellen, and Adler, daughter Ayla and wife Ryiah.
A native of Southwest Virginia, he attended East Tennessee State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He currently resides in Abingdon, Virginia with sons Parley, Kellen, and Adler, daughter Ayla and wife Ryiah.
Leann Vernon, the Director of Accountability and Strategic Impact, develops key performance indicators to assess implementation of United Way of Southwest Virginia’s business strategy, creates coordinated processes for data collection, provides analysis and reporting across the business, and devises opportunities for leaders across the organization to quickly learn from data. Leann creates and leads a communications and public relations strategy that advances UWSWVA’s impact strategies with key audiences and influencers from multiple sectors (government, non-profit, business, academia), media, the general public and employees.
Before joining United Way, she served as the Director of Foundation Relations for a medical ministry, BethanyKids. She managed all aspects of the grant funding, direct mail appeals, newsletters, company website and social media presence for BethanyKids. Prior to her work for BethanyKids, she secured grant funding for Emory & Henry College, including grants for the college’s radio station, a research-quality greenhouse, a program for young women in science, an outdoor leadership program, the Literary Festival, and other infrastructure projects. Leann also worked for Washington County Schools as the After School Project Coordinator, managing a US Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. She supervised more than 40 staff members and coordinated services with four principals at four project sites.
Leann graduated from Mary Washington College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history. She has worked in various nonprofits during her more than twenty year career, with experience in program development, planning, management, and evaluation; marketing and communications; and fund raising.
Leann is a member of Abingdon Bible Church where she serves as a Sunday School teacher, Awana leader, and Bible study leader. She is the proud aunt of Chloe, Ian, Emmy, Tyler and Abbey.
Mark Seamon joined the team in November 2015. Mark is retired from the Director of Budget and Finance position for Washington County. During his career with the county, Mark was called upon to serve as Acting County Administrator on various occasions and worked with United Way as well as other charitable organizations. Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1980. He has lived most of his life in Washington County and is a graduate of Abingdon High School. Mark and his wife reside in Bristol, Virginia.
Mary Anne Holbrook joined the team in May 2016. With a background in non-profit fundraising and management and education, Mary Anne helps build and sustain resources for our community initiatives. She has worked in all facets of fundraising including donor development and stewardship, grant writing, governmental relations and events. Mary Anne helped launch new graduate medical education programs at Johnston Memorial Hospital that address regional physician shortages and workforce needs by training physicians in this region who will stay in the region. A graduate of Radford University, Mary Anne holds a Master’s Degree in English with concentrations in Appalachian Studies and Business and Technical Writing. Mary Anne lives in Washington County, Virginia with her husband, Jon, and their children
Robyn Raines joined the team in January 2019. Being a native of Russell and Tazewell Counties and former Center Director of Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center, Robyn is honored to now lead the Childhood, Youth Success, and Health Teams. She journeys through a non-linear career thriving on problem solving and new experiences. She moved back to the region over ten years ago to work as Director of Appalachian Arts Center (Richlands, VA).
Robyn has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in textile design (minor: drawing and painting) from Moore College of Art and Design (Philadelphia). Last year, she completed her Master’s Degree in Natural Resources through Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability.Robyn is passionately committed to seeing southwest Virginia succeed and overcome the challenges facing the region. She believes in working collectively to find solutions and instilling hope and resilience in the children and youth of our communities. Robyn enjoys time in her art studio and traveling while striving toward balance and practicing yoga.
Melinda joined the team as Director of Youth Success in August 2018. Prior to her role at United Way, Melinda retired from Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC) where she was the Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. She served on the executive leadership team at VHCC, oversaw all non-credit workforce programming; she customized training for business and industry, coordinated continuing education programs, supervised workforce staff to include the small business development center and adjunct instructors, participated in economic development for the service area, served on numerous local boards, oversaw grants within the workforce division, and developed new programs in the area of workforce development and continuing education.
Melinda has experience in retail management and nine years of experience as a Business Educator for Washington County Schools. Melinda is a graduate of Emory & Henry College with her B.A. in Business Economics and of Virginia Tech with her M.S.ED in Vocational and Technical Education where she also received her K-12 teaching license. She has three adult daughters (Taylor Wilburn, Haven Jane Leland, and Macie Sue Leland), a son-in-law (Dillon), two grandchildren (Emmy and Colton) and has been married to her husband, David, for 29 years.
Tina Camper, the Finance and Operations Manager, supports the financial and operations systems to ensure financial strength and operational efficiency of the organization. With a background in non-profit management & administration and small business development & ownership, Tina is highly skilled in the areas of finance & administration, business operations, marketing and communications, human resources, event management and volunteer coordination.
Throughout her 16 year tenure at United Way of Southwest Virginia, she has committed to serving and nurturing the growth of this United Way and the families served by its’ programs and initiatives. In addition to her role as Finance and Operations Manager, Tina and her husband co-own two successful outdoor tourism recreation company’s, is continuing her education through Liberty University’s School of Business Bachelor of Science in Accounting Program, is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and serves on the YWCA Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginias’ Tribute to Women Steering Committee.
When she is not working, Tina enjoys being outdoors, photography, cooking and spending time with her family. Tina lives in Meadowview, Virginia with her husband, Jerry, and son, Cole.
Crystal Breeding joined the team in November 2012. Crystal currently serves as Youth Success Coordinator, partnering with school systems throughout the region to work on barriers that influence youth success, as well as, what resource partnerships can be made to assist the overall success of the student. This includes working with key school personnel, area businesses and agencies throughout the region to make the assistance as specific to the student/school as possible. A graduate of King College and Tusculum College, Crystal holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Education. In addition to keeping busy with Ignite, she is also very active with her church and youth activities. Crystal resides in Abingdon with her husband, Gary and daughter, Emily.
Megan Atkinson Hamilton founded and created Barter Theatre’s award-winning Project REAL. Using theater skills, Project REAL collaborates with local schools, non-profits, government services, and lock-down facilities to teach both academic and social skills through the lens of human experience. The success of Project REAL led Megan to create a graduate program in Applied Theatre Pedagogy at ETSU. She became the Director of Education at Barter Theatre in 2016 where she supervised all of the theatre’s educational programming. Barter’s Business Training Solutions was Megan’s latest creation. Employing the techniques she developed for Project REAL, Megan has worked with businesses and corporations to enhance the interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the 21st century workplace.
An original member of the Gates Foundation Super School Competition team, Megan helped design a school based on community participation and project-based learning (PBL). Megan continues to promote PBL by helping local teachers design classroom cultures that nurture soft skills and build authentic connections between student work and the wider community. As an adjunct professor at Emory & Henry College, Megan also teaches PBL in the freshman Transitions course.
Dr. Susan Patrick is a Southwest Virginia native with over 25 years experience working in the field of early care and education as a classroom teacher, an administrator, a teacher trainer, and a university professor. She is the co-author of the book Being with Infants and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works for Caregivers, and has studied responsive caregiving in high quality infant/toddler group care environments for many years. Susan’s work has led her to Germany, Oklahoma, Singapore, and China, but she is thrilled to be back in Virginia and become part of the amazing work being done with children and families at United Way of Southwest Virginia!
Cassandra joined the team in June 2016. Cassandra Caffee Morelock serves United Way of Southwest Virginia as a Childhood Success Coordinator. She offers technical assistance and support to participating Virginia Quality child care providers and is a certified Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS observer. Additionally, she works with local nonprofit and state agencies as a community organizer to improve the health and education for infants and young children in Southwest Virginia. She previously spent seven years working as an early childhood educator after earning her Master’s degree in Education from Johnson University. Cassandra lives in Northeast Tennessee with her husband and their lovable pets. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and attending local events.
Carolyn joined the team in May 2016. Carolyn’s key activities help agencies and community leaders collaborate on improving conditions for families and their young children birth to five, to better prepare them for Kindergarten.
Prior to working at United Way of Southwest Virginia, her roles involved leading educational initiatives as the Director of Education for Barter Theatre and working in the Outreach Education program at William King Museum of Art. She and her husband, Nick, moved from Cleveland, Ohio, and have resided in Abingdon since 2011 with their daughter, Calliope. Carolyn is an avid journaler and loves to read poetry.
Audrey joined the team in February 2018. Audrey holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Education with specializations in Curriculum Instruction and Adult Education. Her early career centered on Computer Technology, including Geographical Information Systems, and Database Management, which later grew into a career of educating adults in the technology field. She also holds eight different technology certifications, and held the position of Information Systems Director for American National University. Her passions have always been education and helping children. For over 5 years, she has been Kirk’s Blessings, LLC (Daycare and Preschool) Center Director. Her center has been voted The Best of the Best by the local readers of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph for the last 4 years. She shares her passion as a devoted volunteer for her church youth programs and in the past for the local high school band.
Dr. Sherry Barnard joined the team as a part time Childhood Success Coordinator in the fall of 2019. With 20 years of teaching experience in special education, elementary education, and Reading Remediation, Sherry is now a full-time Reading Coach and Title I Teacher. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Science and her Master’s Degree in Reading, both from Radford University.
With a desire to improve teacher professional development, she earned her Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Adult and Postsecondary Education from Capella University. Since then, Sherry has been conducting trainings and workshops for various organizations across Southwest Virginia.
Prior to becoming a part-time Childhood Success Coordinator at United Way of Southwest Virginia, Sherry facilitated curriculum implementation and professional development for Virginia Quality as a Curriculum Specialist and Technical Assistant. Sherry also serves as a Professional Development Specialist with the Council for Professional Development Recognition as a CLASS Reliable Observer with PreK TTT.
Sherry has been married to her husband, Justin, for 20 years. They have two almost grown children, Christian and Victoria. She enjoys family mealtimes, family hikes, and music festivals.
Whitney joined the team in November 2019. Prior to becoming a Childhood Success Coordinator at United Way of Southwest Virginia, Whitney served as a Manager for Kirks Blessing LLC, overseeing daily operations and frameworks for early childhood education. Eventually, it led her to a position as a Mentor for the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, where she provided classroom and individual training on child development and learning.
Whitney was raised in the heart of Appalachia, Bartley, West Virginia. She now lives with her two children and husband in Pilot, Virginia. She attended Bluefield State College studying Elementary Education. Whitney is also a current member of Blue Ridge Church where she serves on the First Impressions team. In her spare time, she enjoys any type of outdoor adventures with her family.
Lisa joined the United Way of Southwest Virginia team in April 2017 as an Infant & Toddler Specialist. She brings over 20 years of early childcare experience, six years experience as a deaf interpreter with Washington County Schools (VA), and ten years experience as program director and lead teacher for a local childcare center. There she was a lead teacher to a classroom of 10 preschoolers, while mentoring college students from various career paths. Lisa earned her Master of Arts in Education from Emory & Henry College in 2012 and continues to be a lifelong learner. She shares her enthusiasm and love of teaching with others with emphasis on research-based best practices of infant and toddler care.
Taylor, the Administrative Assistant for Childhood and Youth Success, joined the team in May 2019. She is a native to Southwest Virginia, originally from the small town of Dante. Taylor graduated from Clintwood High School, which has since been consolidated. She attended Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, where she received her Associates Degree in General Studies. From there, Taylor transferred to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville where she received her Bachelors Degree in English with a minor in Religious Studies. Reading and writing have always been one of Taylor’s passions. She is very excited to begin her career at United Way of Southwest Virginia! Taylor believes the work that the organization does for the communities of Southwest Virginia is a vital component of moving forward and thrilled to become a part of the team!
Kristy joined the team in October 2015. Prior to joining the United Way, Kristy spent four and a half years working at a local childcare center. Two of those years were spent as a lead teacher and the other two and a half she was the Assistant Director. Kristy Grew up in Lee County, Virginia and is a 2011 graduate of Emory and Henry College. In her spare time, Kristy enjoys being outdoors, going fishing and camping with her husband, son, and dog Quincey.
Deborah McCroskey joined the team in June 2019. She is a native of Washington County, Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Milligan College. Deborah also attended the University of Tennessee School of Law. She has over 20 years of experience in business development specializing in the cultivation and advancement of partnership initiatives. While with GE Healthcare, Deborah oversaw the application of strategic channel marketing distribution and partnership plans for GE’s cardiovascular imaging systems in the Southeastern region of The United States. Most recently, in her role as Director of Corporate and Government Relations for Barter Theatre, she successfully increased their 2018 sponsorship level by 18% through the introduction of corporate awareness initiatives.
Shauna Tilson joined the team in August 2017 as Community Relations Coordinator. Shauna was born and raised in Southwest Virginia, received her Associate’s of Art Degree with a major in Education from Virginia Highlands Community College in 2013 and her Bachelor’s of Art Degree with a double major in Political Science and History from Emory & Henry College in 2016. Shauna is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration Degree at Old Dominion University.
Shauna has worked with multiple nonprofit organizations, including Sprouting Hope Community Garden and Appalachian Community Fund, and co-founded the organization A Reason to Play in 2013. Prior to joining our team, she worked as the Program Assistant at the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing. Shauna resides in Meadowview, Virginia with her husband, Dustin, and daughter, Tilly Wren.
Laken Dillow joined the team in May 2019 as the Communications Coordinator. She was born and raised in Southwest Virginia. Laken is a 2019 graduate from Radford University in which she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design and a minor in Marketing.
Prior to joining the United Way of Southwest Virginia team, she held an internship for a year and a half at Volvo Trucks, North America in the Communications department. While attending Radford University, she also worked with the International Education Center to produce informational flyers, event posters, brochures, and capture event photography. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to her hometown, Bland County, to spend time with her family and friends.
Keri Stegall joined the team in May 2019. Originally from Bassett, Va, Keri is a graduate from Radford University’s class of 2019. She has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree with a major in Graphic Design and a double minor in Management and Entrepreneurship. Keri is a two-time student recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s ADDY awards for her visual designs. She previously worked as a Graphic Design intern with Volvo Trucks North America located in Dublin, Va. There she worked in the communications department and alongside a marketing team to bring ideas and projects to life. She enjoys being outdoors, drawing, and camping.
Kim Hamilton joined the team in June 2019. She has extensive business experience in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts previously working in retail management, real estate development and marketing, and healthcare management and marketing. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication from Old Dominion University where she was a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, and she is also a nurse.
After serving as the Director of Marketing for a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, Kim entered a career sabbatical during which she chose to be at home with her daughters, Chloe and Sophie, during their formative years due to her husband Brian’s travel with his work for CSX Transportation. After this time, she returned to work serving as Administrative and Project Assistant for the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing’s Center of Excellence before coming on board at United Way of Southwest Virginia.