Board of Directors

The Board is responsible for leading the organization to accomplish strategic goals, while keeping in mind the origins of this grass-roots organization. Each Board member brings a unique perspective, serving for a 3-year term. The Executive Director reports to the Board.

Meet the Board

Ellen Gaffney
Ellen Parker Gaffney graduated from Agnes Scott College (ASC) with a B.A. in Biology-Psychology and did some graduate work at Georgia State in School Psychometry. She has been married to Chris for 31 years and they have raised four children together, ages 23-30. She is a weekly volunteer in the office of the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research and recently chaired their largest fundraiser for two consecutive years. For the past 15 years, she has served on the summer central staff at Camp Crestridge for Girls in North Carolina. Previously Gaffney served as the Managing Editor for Quilt Magazine and as a pattern designer and photo stylist for the same publication.
Gaffney describes herself as a professional volunteer, having served as a Girl Scout leader for 15 years, serving as a class officer for ASC’s Class of 1987, almost every year since graduation, and serving on the ASC Alumnae Board.  She also serves as the Service Committee chair for the Atlanta Smocking Guild, distributing over 800 gowns and blankets annually to premature and stillborn babies in local hospitals. Gaffney is co-director of Path To Shine’s Marietta affiliate and is actively involved with the Ugly Pants fundraiser. Through her involvement with PTS, she has become a weekly volunteer in the nursery at their host location, where evening ESL classes are offered.
Gaffney was involved with Wonderful Days Preschool, a tuition-free preschool for under-served children in Marietta for over twenty years,  first as the school’s director, and then as a board member.  She just completed a third term on the Camp Crestridge Alumnae Board and is currently the curator for the camp museum and archives. She is a past member of the Board of Trustees for Darlington School in Rome, GA and recently served on the Student Experience Committee for strategic planning, in addition to serving two terms as President of the Parents’ Association.

V. Gourisankar ("Sankar")
Mr. Gourisankar has 30 years of experience spanning the corporate, startup and academic space. He graduated with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and spent the first half of his career on the research faculty at Georgia Tech building a professional services organization that served the DOD, FAA and major defense contractors such as Lockheed, Northrop, and Intergraph. Later in his career he worked at several large U.S. Corporations in operational leadership positions as Director, CTO, and Vice President. He has hands on experience leading professional services as well as product development organizations with a proven track record of improving the operating margins and profitability. In addition, he has experience in the acquisition and integration of companies that develop engineering/ technical software applications. Most recently, he founded and grew a professional services company into a 20+ person operation that serves the Aerospace & Defense sector.

Nadeen Green
Nadeen has been an attorney since 1979 and until her retirement had been teaching Fair Housing law to the multi-family housing industry since the Fair Housing Amendments Act went into effect in 1989. Her many programs (1300+) were presented to apartment management companies and state and local apartment associations nationwide, and she was regularly asked to speak at national industry conferences for the National Apartment Association, Multi-Housing World, AIM and OpTech, as well as at the UGA and GT. She also wrote many "reader-friendly" articles on Fair Housing and was a guest blogger as “Fair Housing Lady”.  Her blog is still live at
​Nadeen was Senior Counsel with Dominion Enterprises, a well-respected company which provides internet advertising services for a variety of industries throughout the U.S., for 21 years. She was President of the Sandy Springs Bar Association, currently serves on the Board for the International Fund for Economic Development (IFED), and serves on the Communications Committee for the Atlanta Ministry of International Students (AMIS). Nadeen teaches Ethics classes at G.T., Anhui University of Economics and Finance (Bengbu/Anhui Province/PRC), and at the Atlanta Art Institute. She has written three children's books, Let There Be Dragons, When Pigs Fly, and Libby and the Cape of Visitability.

The Rev. Bryan Hinson
A native of middle Georgia, Fr. Bryan is the Priest-in-Charge at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Macon. In addition to work in the parish, Bryan serves many non-profit ministries in the community, both local and international. A former Youth Coordinator, Bryan values walking along with young people on their journey, especially through the work of Path To Shine.
Bryan’s wife and daughter are both Elementary School teachers, so the value of education and mentoring runs in the family. Bryan received his M.Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. From former vocations, Bryan brings a spirit of entrepreneurship to ministry. When not actively in the mission field, Bryan enjoys family and friends, the beach, music, and college football.


Betsy Jones
From the suburbs of NY, I went to UNC for undergrad and then UGA for my Master’s degree. Georgia has been my home since 1977.
My first job out of college was for a Regional Planning Commission where I served as a human resources consultant to communities in the Metropolitan Atlanta area.  Since 1986 I’ve worked in the IT division at Federal Home Loan Bank. I am currently a Banking Officer coordinating the development and support of the applications for the Accounting and Funds Transfer departments. FHLB has always had, as part of its mission, a focus on giving back to the community in which it serves. As a result, I have had an opportunity to volunteer hundreds of hours including Habitat for Humanity, Project Open Hand, Atlanta Community Tool Bank, AID Atlanta, and the Foundation for Hospital Art.
As a member of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, I headed the Outreach Committee for two years changing the focus of our Outreach goals from giving our treasures to giving our time and our talents. For the last 12 years I have served as the Acolyte Leader at St. Aidan’s. Without a doubt this is the most important and fulfilling ‘job I have had in my life. I enjoy spending my free time with my dog, Allie, and traveling.

Dan Kniffen
Dan Kniffen is a Partner with the law firm of Drew, Eckl & Farnham, where he has represented Employers in the courtroom for 35 years, and through creation of policies and procedures to avoid and resolve disputes in the workplace. Dan has served as a Co-Managing Partner and on the firm’s Board of Directors, and has served as Chairman of the State Bar of Georgia’s Labor and Employment Section and the National Defense Research Institute’s Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Section.

Dan has been inducted into the International Association of Defense Counsel and serves by appointment on the Chairman’s Advisory Council, which vets legislation and policy for Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation system. Dan has also served in various leadership and volunteer capacities with The First Tee of East Lake, StreetGrace, Kids Chance of Georgia, The Orphans Foundation in Haiti, The Vine United Methodist Church, Fifth Row Center Theater and Leadership Gwinnett. Dan lives in Brookhaven, Georgia with his wife, Patty.


Derek Norred, Board Treasurer

First Landmark Bank elevated Derek to Marietta Market President in September 2018. Prior to September, he served the Bank’s Midtown market as SVP/Senior Commercial Lender. He now oversees the Marietta commercial lending group and the Marietta Banking Center, and is responsible for business development in Marietta and throughout Cobb County. Derek received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in 2001 from Kennesaw State University, and completed the three-year graduate School of Banking at LSU in 2009.

Derek is a member of the Chairman’s Club of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Derek is past Treasurer of St. Benedict's Episcopal Church. He has participated in teaching financial literacy programs to elementary school students with Junior Achievement, and has served as volunteer with Special Olympics. He is married to Ashley and they have two young children.

Christie Stevens, Board Chair
Christie is a lifelong resident of Georgia. She has a BBA in Accounting from Kennesaw State University and an MBA from Georgia State in Finance. Christie retired in 2014 after a 26+ year career in accounting & finance with IBM followed by 5+ years as a Principal Consultant at ISG.
For the past three years, she has volunteered for several organizations, including mentoring  each week with Path To Shine (Marietta program); and Year Up, an organization that provides urban youth with skills and experience to start professional careers where Christie assists graduating interns with resumes and career advice.
For over 10 years, Christie has been an avid quilter and currently serves as Vice President for East Cobb Quilters’ Guild, an organization promoting the quilting arts and serving the community with donations of hundreds of quilts, pillow cases and place-mats each year. Christie is married to Greg and they share a passion for traveling. They have visited six continents, over forty countries and are always planning the next trip.

Hideo Takada
Hideo started his career as auditor at the Tokyo office of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell &Co. (currently named as KPMG Azsa). In 1985, he transferred to KPMG’s Atlanta office to build the Firm’s Japanese businesses in the Southeast US. By the time he left KPMG in 2012, its Atlanta office was one of the firm’s key Japanese Practice offices in the US with 30 Japanese bilingual professionals including three Japanese partners. After two and a half years with Dixon, Hughes, Goodman LLP as partner in-charge of Japanese Business Services, Hideo established his own firm, Takada Company LLC, in August 2015. The company serves to provide Japanese owned subsidiaries with personalized professional services through close ties with other accounting firms that enable us to provide a wide range of services that our clients require.
Hideo is a member of AICPA, and licensed in State of Georgia. He is a former chairman of Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Keio University.

Joe Thomas, Jr. 

Joe is a member of the Vestry at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Smyrna, GA and currently 
serves as the vice chairman of the board of Connections Homes, a charity focused on matching 
young people who have aged out of foster care with mentor families in the State of Georgia.  
Joe has 40 years of experience managing institutional real estate investments including 30 
years in portfolio management.  He has represented capital from all over the globe in investments 
that span all property sectors and risk/return segments.  Joe is a former Managing Director of 
Morgan Stanley Real Estate and for 5 years served as Portfolio Manager of its $20B flagship, 
core commingled fund, Prime Property Fund LLC.  Currently Joe is the President and Managing 
Member of Five Star Realty Partners, LLC (“FSRP”) a real estate investment firm focused on 
hotel and multi-family projects in major urban and resort markets nationwide 
Joe holds an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a 
BS in Economics from Vanderbilt University.   
Joe has served as a volunteefor the Boy Scouts of AmericaAtlanta International SchoolBig 
Brothers/Big Sistersand Habitat for Humanity. Joe is married to Kerry Thomas and they have 
four adult children between them. 

Dan Wistman
Dan Wistman is a resident of Milton, GA and attends St Aidan’s Episcopal Church. He moved to Georgia, in 2014 after 28 years in the Boston area where he raised his children. For the last 15 years, Dan has worked for the Public Consulting Group* in the Education Practice where he is a senior manager for instruction and data management solutions.  He travels extensively in the US to assist state and large district clients. His experience ranges from statewide instructional coaching engagements, to creating the country’s most popular content portal, to implementing special education and instructional systems in Fulton County, Miami Dade, Houston, TX, St Paul, MN, and the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Arizona. His current work takes him regularly to Broward County, Florida where he is working to link special education data with teacher lesson planning.
Prior to PCG, Dan ran his own systems development group for 14 years and spent a couple of years producing online pharmaceutical training programs.  He started his career as a Wall Street analyst.  Dan graduated with a BA in Economics and Government from Connecticut College in New London, CT.

*PCG Education. Consulting solutions help schools, school districts, and state departments of education to promote student success, improve programs and processes, and optimize financial resources.