Leadership

President, Brian Marquez, currently works as Donor Stewardship Officer at Tallahassee Community College. A graduate of both TCC and Florida State University, Brian has been a Tallahassee resident for over ten years. Brian served as Secretary for the Florida State Chapter of the Delta Chi Fraternity and earned his Bachelor's degree in Editing, Writing, and Media in 2021. Before taking on his current role at TCC, he was the Communications & Development Coordinator at Elder Care Services. Brian is a passionate advocate for social justice, particularly as it relates to the LGBTQIA+ community. He currently serves as Secretary for the FSU Pride Alumni Network and as a member of Mayor of Tallahassee John E. Dailey's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council and is an active volunteer in Equality Florida's Tallahassee steering committee. He is a current member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 41. In his spare time, Brian enjoys spending time outdoors, reading a good book, and  attending various community events.

With her dynamic energy and creative talent, Vice President, Kay Meyer, is the Director of Development and Communications at 2-1-1 Big Bend where she is responsible for directing fundraising, fund development, messaging, community relations, and social media. Prior to her current role, she was the Director of Administration and Communication at a local credit union. Also an entrepreneur, Kay has owned her own photography business for over 20 years. Kay’s marketing and communications experience is both unique and varied. As a long-time Tallahassee resident, Kay has also involved herself in the community as a recent alumna of Leadership Tallahassee Class 38 and as a board member for the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation, an organization which provides support and financial assistance for those living with breast cancer.

Secretary, Kristie Teal, is currently the Donor Engagement Manager at Second Harvest of the Big Bend. Previously, Kristie has worked for the Southern Scholarship Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend and the American Cancer Society. The majority of her professional career has been spent working in non-profit organizations.  Kristie is originally from California and graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara. After college, Kristie served in the Peace Corps in Namibia. Kristie is married to a Tallahassee native and her most cherished role is that of Mom to her two beautiful children.

Treasurer, Nicole Ballas, is the Chief Development Officer at Elder Care Services. Nicole graduated from the University of Georgia in 2007 with degrees in Public Relations and History. She has been involved in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years and focused specifically on philanthropy in elder services for the last 5 years. Nicole moved to Tallahassee in 2017. She is married with two young children and spends much of her free time watching dinosaur videos and singing “The Wheels on the Bus.”

Membership Chair, Stephanie Schwartz, is the Tallahassee & Panama City Development Officer for Equality Florida – creating support and raising awareness of LGBTQ, Equality and Diversity issues in the Big Bend. Previously, Stephanie worked in development for a local HIV/AIDS advocacy nonprofit. Chosen as the agency’s first front-line fundraiser, Stephanie worked to identify and cultivate relationships with existing and prospective donors, community stakeholders, volunteers, and corporate partners. Stephanie also worked for many years in local media sales and was a top producer in account sales and retention. A UF Gator by degree (Bachelor of Science in Public Relations), today Stephanie loudly cheers for the FSU Seminoles in all sports, Go ‘Noles! Besides being President of the Big Bend Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, she is also a member of the Sunrise Rotary. Stephanie and her partner, Laura, live with their four-legged children, Eli and Simone.

Communications Chair, Craig Mayers, CFRE, is a Development Officer for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and raises funds for rare cancer research as well as clinical trials. His passion for this work stems from supporting a loved one through an arduous but triumphant battle with cancer. Previously, Craig worked as a Development Officer for the College of Social Sciences & Public Policy at Florida State University. He is a proud alumnus of FSU earning a Bachelor’s & Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management/Development. Craig also earned the distinction of Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2022 and would be glad to answer any questions about that process.

Member-At-Large, Colette Podgorski, is currently the Senior Director of Development for University Wide Initiatives and College of Social Work at Florida State University (FSU). Colette received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. Colette has worked in development for nonprofits and higher education for over 15 years. Colette has also worked as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters (Tallahassee, FL), Florida Medial Association (Tallahassee, FL) and Abuse Prevention Council (Shelby, NC). Colette was honored with Tallahassee Network of Young Professionals' "20 under 40" Golden A.C.E. Award for 2016 in the category of Nonprofit Leadership and the 2018 Fundraiser of the Year from Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Big Bend Chapter.  She served on the AFP’s Big Bend board from 2011- 2016 and was the 2015 AFP Big Bend President. One of the primary initiatives during Colette’s term as AFP president was to work closely with other organizations to create a community-wide giving campaign, #BigBendGivesBack centered on #GivingTuesday which is still active and successful. Colette believes philanthropy changes lives and being a development professional is invaluable and humbling because we are given the opportunity to create the “magic” for donors and as a result, they feel good about the philanthropic work they do to make a difference. Colette’s other passions include working out, spending time with her son and cheering on the Seminoles.