We are thrilled to announce our Leadership team for 2018-2019. This dynamic Board will take all things mental fitness to the next level. Stay tuned to learn what they design next!!
Bios (in alphabetical order)
Valerie Manatis Barnet (Director), is married to Bill and they have three grown children – Becca, Will and John. Professionally, Valerie teaches theatre at the Spartanburg Day School (grades 8 – 12) and directs three productions annually. In the Spartanburg community, Valerie serves on the Walker Foundation Board (which is the fundraising arm of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind). She volunteers at the Journey as a Praise Team vocalist and a Sunday school teacher. She is also on the Advisory Board for Sidewalk Hope, which is a truck that goes into the inner city neighborhoods to fill spiritual and physical needs of the residents. Valerie is the co-founder and administrator of the Hub City Animal Project that empowers local animal welfare organizations who are proactively working to address the root causes of animal homelessness (hubcityanimalproject.com).
Stacey Bevill (Director), founded the marketing company Ask and Receive, Inc. in 1999 and holds a master’s level certification in Marketing Strategy from Cornell, Fran Tarkenton’s master’s level certification in Entrepreneurship from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Lander University.
She is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina, Leadership Spartanburg, The Spartanburg Citizens’ Academy, The Women’s Campaign School at Yale and The Spartanburg County Foundation’s Grass Roots Leadership Development Institute. She was recently certified as a Life Coach and is following her bliss holding coaching sessions in Spartanburg.
Stacey co-founded the Greenville International Alliance for Professional Women (GIAFPW) in 2005 and served on the board until 2010. She was named GIAFPW Member of the Year in 2008. Stacey graduated from Furman Connections: Women Leaders of the Upstate in 2008 and served on the advisory board from 2008-2011.
Stacey serves on the Board of Directors of Mental Fitness, Inc. (MFI), a national nonprofit that brings arts-focused, evidence based programs into schools to build resilience in youth. She is a mentor for the Northside Start:ME Mentor – Microenterprise Training program and a Tutor for the CC Woodson Recreation Center Computer Lab and Spartanburg Adult Learning Center.
Samantha Campbell (President-Elect, Secretary) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology & a Master’s degree in Public Health. Her professional career includes management of federally-funded public health projects for institutions including the Centers for Disease Control & the University of South Carolina. One of her passions is for community-based work, with a vested interest in addressing community engagement as a means to hopefully increase resident quality of life. She is currently the Neighborhood Engagement Coordinator for Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville. As part of Way to Wellville, she has been working with neighborhoods to address engagement through the process of organized listening.
When not entrenched in community-based efforts, Samantha can be found immersed in efforts aligned with her other passion for empowering women by helping them find their voice specifically around overcoming shame. She is also the author of, “Fallen Chains” a testament of her own journey from bondage to freedom.
Mr. Christen Dellett (Director) serves as Director of Corporate Development for AstenJohnson, a family owned multinational company headquartered in Charleston, SC, where he leads the process for the acquisition of target companies, partnerships, JVs or divestiture of current operations. Mr. Dellett has been employed by AstenJohnson since 2005 and has held various positions of increasing responsibility in finance, operations, sales and marketing, and strategic planning. In these roles Mr. Dellett has developed experience in managing people and projects around the world. Prior to joining AstenJohnson, Mr. Dellett held a Series 7 license and worked for the Bank of Montreal and Credit Suisse First Boston. Mr. Dellett holds an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina and earned a B.A. from Virgina Tech. He lives in Mount Pleasant, SC with his wife and two children. https://www.linkedin.com/in/christendellett
Robyn Hussa Farrell is Founder of Mental Fitness and has served as its CEO for 12 years. For her efforts creating Mental Fitness and its arts and mindfulness programs, she received the 2017 Women of Distinction award from Girl Scouts of South Carolina, Mountains to Midlands, the 2017 Altrusa International award for creating the Flourish peer led resilience program for Spartanburg Day School ASTRA students, the 2014 Peace Award from Emerge Family Therapy Institute, and the 2010 Champion in Womens Health award from the First Lady of Wisconsin, Ms. Sue Ann Thompson. Learn more here (link to Founder page)
Patricia Leavy, Ph.D. (Director) received the National Art Education Association 2018 Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award! Established in 1965, previous recipients of this prestigious award include Nelson Rockefeller, Jacqueline Kennedy, and a long list of vice presidents, governors, senators, and CEOs. Patricia has made history as the first sociologist and first full-time author to receive the honor. Patricia received this award for her internationally recognized work advancing arts-based research in both the academy and public.
Patricia has been a long-time supporter of Mental Fitness, Inc., blogging for We Are the Real Deal and donating signed books to our auctions. We’re delighted to announce Patricia is our newest board member and to share more about her background and work.
Patricia is a best-selling author, book series creator and editor, and internationally recognized leader in arts-based research and research methodology. She is widely considered the world’s most visible proponent of arts-based research as a means of making research publicly accessible. As an author, Patricia has earned critical and commercial success in both nonfiction and fiction.
Patricia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Boston University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2002. During graduate school she taught at Boston College, Northeastern University, and Curry College. She then moved on to Stonehill College in Massachusetts from 2002-2012 where she was a tenured Associate Professor of Sociology, Founding Director of the Gender Studies Program, and Chairperson of the Sociology & Criminology Department. In 2012 she left academia to focus her full-time efforts on her work as an author, independent researcher, and public intellectual.
Jessica Mata (Treasurer) is currently a staff accountant at Gosnell Menard Robinson Infante CPAs PA, where she began her career two years ago.
A native of Spartanburg, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Wofford College. She received a Master’s degree in Accountancy from Clemson University. She obtained her certified public accountant designation in August 2016.
She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants.
As a recently appointed board member of Mental Fitness, she looks forward to lending her accounting expertise in helping Mental Fitness carry out its mission of building resiliency in youth.
Crystal Pace (Director) is a business development manager and liaison to the business community at the Spartanburg Marriott. She is Vice Chair of Membership for the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, Chair of the Chamber Ambassadors, and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Chamber. Crystal cares deeply about the success of Spartanburg County businesses and non-profits. She serves as the current Past President of Breakfast Business and Professional women of Spartanburg, as well as President Elect for the State Organization for 2017-18, and is honored to have won the Young Careerist of the Year for BPWSC for 2016. She leads Network Spartanburg as the current President, and serves on the Development Committee for Spartanburg Young Professionals, New Opportunities Committee for the United Way, and the Development Committee for Chapman Cultural Center. She is a proud graduate of Leadership Spartanburg and serves on the board as the President Elect for the Leadership Spartanburg Alumni Association. She was honored to receive the LSAA emerging leader award for 2017. She also runs a pet-sitting business “on the side.” In her copious amount of free time she enjoys the amazing trails and water systems of North and South Carolina with her wife, plays with her 7 dogs, and participates in military style Obstacle course racing to try to hurt herself for sport.
Betsy Neely Sikma (President) is a Spartanburg, SC native, and has more than 14 years of nonprofit development, communications, and marketing experience. After an early career working in the faith-based non-profit world, she joined the CDFI industry in 2012 and served as a team member at Accion in Chicago, a member of the Accion US Network for five years. In 2014, Sikma was an Emerging Leader in the CDFI Industry’s CitiLeadership Fellowship program and served as Accion in Chicago’s Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Development. In 2017 she joined the Spartanburg Economic Futures Groups as Director of Entrepreneurial Development, where she is responsible for administering and implementing small business and entrepreneurial programming for the Economic Futures Group and for administering the Entrepreneurial Action Team under OneSpartanburg. Sikma holds a BA at Furman University, and an MTS from Vanderbilt University and is ordained in the Baptist church. Betsy is a member of the Board of Directors at WeVote USA, and Birth Matters. She is on the business leadership team of Fostering Great Ideas and a member of the marketing and development committee for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Betsy and her husband, Jason, have two daughters, Wren and Rowan. Together they love long hikes, making photographs, and working to make the world a kinder place.