As an adoptive mom and former Secretary of the Commonwealth, Janet gained first-hand knowledge of the struggles and joys of parenting a child from foster care. In the Governor’s office, she ran a first-of-its-kind campaign that resulted in 1041 kids being matched with permanent families. She also acquired a healthy discontent with the state of the current foster care system and a deep desire for an environment where every child has true belonging. She enjoys engaging leaders from all backgrounds and beliefs to focus on the common goal of ending Virginia's foster care and adoption crisis. She and her husband, Ryan, have three children ages 17, 10, and 8.
I Belong Project Manager
Emily loves working with families and children and keeping everyone organized. A proud Hokie, she has a degree in child development and spent her early career running a Quality Child Care grant for a local DSS in Virginia. Her recent work with a local modeling agency was a perfect segue to managing our I Belong Project videos program where she lovingly encourages the kids eligible for adoption to shine in their introduction videos. In 2017, she became a volunteer for VKB and joined the staff in 2020. Emily lives to be creative and is full of joy. She is a wife, and a mother to 3 kids and 2 dogs. She also loves to clean!
Director of Community Engagement
Karen's work and volunteer experiences have shown her the power of connections and community engagement to achieve a common goal. While new to the world of foster care and adoption, she recognizes the tremendous opportunity to end Virginia's foster care crisis by mobilizing all Virginians to do "something.” She brings her skills in program management, communications, organizational development, and her passion for speaking up for those without a voice to VKB. Karen is working with business and faith leaders to develop strong support networks for foster families and social workers. She loves to encourage others, explore new places, and anything related to food or music.
Faith Community Liaison
Steve is a life-long Virginia native and has years of valued experience in local, state, and federal government. He received his Bachelor of Science from Virginia Union University and is a 2016 graduate of the Minority Political Leadership Program at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a father of two, Steve understands that children are our most vulnerable and most valuable gift and deserve nothing but our best. Keeping birth families together or providing safe, ethnically-sensitive homes for kids in foster care is paramount. He looks forward to working with the faith, business, and government leaders to address growing needs in this area.
Appalachian Highlands Community Engagement Coordinator
Matt has worked in the community mental health field for over a decade. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker he has helped children and families process through crisis and trauma and has seen first hand the challenges that kids face in foster care. Matt will be focused on providing better outcomes for kids in the Appalachian Highlands region. A native to southwest Virginia, Matt lives in Abingdon with his wife and their two children. In his free time, Matt enjoys being outdoors, playing with his kids, and cooking yummy food. He believes in the power of community and volunteers at his church and in local youth sports as often as he can.