Our Values

Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends, and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers, and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, and manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views our most vulnerable youth.

Put Children First

We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.

Build Relationships on Love

We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance, and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily, and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy, and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful, and meaningful.

Commit to Empowerment

We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work, and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.

Pursue Goals Relentlessly

We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.

Demand Equity

We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families, and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills, and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic, and institutional barriers.

Executive Staff

Nita Smith

Executive Director

Byron Pressley

Program Director

Professional Mentors

Shambria Young

Professional Mentor

Justin Goldsmith

Professional Mentor

Ken Baker

Professional Mentor

Leslie Malalos

Professional Mentor

Gregory Harvey

Professional Mentor

April Schmit

Professional Mentor

Briana Robinson

Professional Mentor

Board of Directors

Jay Silver

Board Chair

President, Helicon

Tampa Bay, FL

Terri L. Parker

Vice Chair

Partner, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

Tampa Bay, FL

Beth McCarty

Board Secretary

Owner, TeamLogic IT

Gretchen Whalen


Principal, State and Local Tax, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Tampa Bay, FL

Mona Shah Alexander

Regional Sales Manager, Datasite

Tampa, FL

Adam Besnard

President/CEO, Besnard Insurance

Tampa, FL

Johnny Bush

Principal, HB Plant High School

Tampa Bay, FL

Shirley Dehmlow

Community Advocate

St. Petersburg, FL

Lisa Greene

Manager, Physician Communications, Tampa General Hospital

Tampa, FL

Nicole Hisler

SVP, Director of Charitable Solutions, Raymond James Charitable Administration

Chris Horan

VP, Corporate Compliance Investigations, WellCare Health Plans, Inc

Tampa Bay, FL

Kristen Johnson

Attorney, Taylor & Associates

Tampa Bay, FL

Tim Killgoar

National Director, Financial Institutions Division, Raymond James

Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

Susan Riesdorph

President/Owner, Riesdorph Reporting Group, A Veritext Company

Terri Sorensen

President, Friends of the Children

Seattle, WA

Heather Vermette

Assistant VP of Sales, Wells Pharmacy Network

Tampa, FL


Friends of the Children is committed to the communities we serve, to equal employment opportunity, and to diversity in our workplace.

Tampa Bay Jobs

Thank you for your interest in Friends of the Children, we do not have job openings at this time.