Advisory Committees


Sam Beard:

Sam Beard has dedicated his working life to public service. Through different national non-profit organizations that he runs, Sam Beard has initiated and then chaired programs for seven Presidents of the United States – Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. He began his career in 1965 as a Staff Associate to U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy working to revitalize Bedford-Stuyvesant, a low-income community in Brooklyn, New York. In 1969, Mr. Beard founded and remains Chairman of the National Development Council (NDC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to redeveloping urban and rural low-income communities. NDC has initiated and run four Presidential job creation programs for Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan, and has been responsible for over $100 billion of revitalization financing. NDC trains over 3,000 economic development professionals annually in all 50 states. There are six major federal economic development tools, and NDC has pioneered and created two of them.

In 1972, Mr. Beard established the Jefferson Awards Foundation to create America’s most prestigious prize for public service. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. were the founding Co-Chairs. The Institute recognizes both ordinary people who do extraordinary things and individuals whose public service has had a broad national impact. Over 151 newspapers, television and radio stations herald local “Unsung Heroes” – the nation’s largest media partnership fostering volunteerism. In 1992, working with President George Bush, Mr. Beard originated the President’s Student Service Awards to attract thousands and thousands of young Americans into service. In 1997, at the Presidents’ Summit on Volunteerism in Philadelphia, Presidents Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford, along with Mrs. Reagan and Colin Powell, adopted these awards and set the national goal of attracting two million young Americans to do 100 hours of service. At the urging of Mr. Beard, in January 2003 President George W. Bush held the first major presidential press conference highlighting the youth service awards. He appointed a Presidential Council, co-chaired by U.S. Senators Bob Dole and John Glenn to carry out the goal.

Beginning in 1992, Mr. Beard also became a major player in saving and reforming the nation’s Social Security system. Mr. Beard believes that the Social Security debate must be focused on the need to create savings and wealth for all Americans. He wrote a book, Restoring Hope In America – The Social Security Solution (ICS Press 1995). In 1994, Mr. Beard founded and became President of Economic Security 2000, with leadership from U.S. Senators Alan Simpson, Rick Santorum, Bob Kerrey and Pat Moynihan. The nonprofit goal is to save Social Security’s social insurance components and add individually owned savings accounts. In 2001, Mr. Beard was appointed to serve on President George W. Bush’s Social Security Commission. He continues to work with the White House on reform.

Mr. Beard is a graduate of Yale University and earned a M.A. in history from Columbia University. He is married, the father of three children and resides in Wilmington, Delaware.

Barrett Joyner:

Barrett Joyner of Bunkhouse Productions serves on our advisory board. Barrett and has spent over 40 years in the triangle area and recently retired from The Healing Place of Wake County (now known as Healing Transitions of Wake County). For 8 years Barrett served as the Development Director at this homeless shelter with an innovative recovery program. Prior to raising funds for the homeless shelter, Barrett’s career was in executive management and sales and marketing in the high tech industry.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and attending graduate classes at NCSU, Barrett worked for almost a decade at Research Triangle Institute. At RTI he focused on analyzing governmental programs (such as highway safety, housing, and municipal services). He spent the next 25 years in the high tech industry with 16 years at the world’s largest independent software company, SAS Institute. At SAS, Barrett’s positions included Director of Marketing, VP of Sales and Marketing and President of SAS North America. He then spent approximately 10 years in software startups (including CEO of FullSeven Technologies–email marketing software and Executive VP at Mi-Co–the leader in mobile data capture).

Barrett now spends time volunteering with various startup and medium size triangle based non-profits, as well as traveling and watching old movies. Barrett currently lives in Cary, NC with his supportive wife, Stephenie. They have two wonderful children, Matt and Kate.

Kenidee (Dee) Blake:

Blake is Director of Development for Duke HomeCare & Hospice serving on the senior management team. She is responsible for all aspects of their development program building community support for the organization’s programs and services in a nine county region. She has also worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill heading the Office of Advancement in the School of Nursing.

Blake is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a degree in Journalism. She brings twenty nine years of management experience including eight years as CEO of non-profit organizations; twenty four years of experience training staff and volunteers at the local and national level; and twelve years of media experience in newspaper, radio and television.

Volunteerism is a value that Blake has exhibited throughout her career. She currently serves on the boards of Nourish International and Safe Haven for Cats. She volunteers her time with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Triangle Chapter, where she is a past president of the local 230-member association.

Youth Advisory Committee

Emily Capeta, from Green, Ohio is a junior at Furman University. She is majoring in Economics with a minor in Health, Medicine, and Culture. She enjoys playing tennis, kayaking, and golfing. 

Hill Douglas is a junior at Furman University from Winston-Salem, NC. He has plans to double major in History and Chinese. He enjoys playing basketball, golfing, and watching football in his free time. 

Carla Escobar is from Charlotte, NC and is a junior at UNC. On a pre-med track, she is double majoring in Quantitative Biology and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures with a minor in Neuroscience.  Outside of school, she enjoys running, cooking, and meeting new people.

Austin Geer is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Chemistry. He is on the pre-med track, and is pursuing a career in pediatric neurosurgery. His hobbies include playing the piano, violin, and running.

Laura Hoeker is a junior at Furman University majoring in Health Science with a minor in Poverty Studies. Originally from New Hampshire, Laura enjoys hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and biking on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Laura is an Admission Ambassador, member of the Shucker Leadership Institute, member of Culinary Club, and involved in Greek life. 

Karl Naomi is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is a junior at UNC. He is double majoring in economics and advertising. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, hiking, and playing basketball.

Sofia Siddiqui, a junior from Greenville, SC, is a pre-med psychology major at Furman University. Her hobbies include creating Arabic calligraphy art, hiking and exploring nature, and spending time with the people in her community.

Maddie Tedrick is a junior chemistry major from Greenville, SC. She is pre-med and wants to become an Emergency Medicine physician. Outside of school, Maddie enjoys swimming, reading, and spending time with friends.

Drew Warner, from Bethlehem, PA, is a junior economics major at Furman University. His academic interests include finance, banking, and history, among other things. Outside of the classroom, Drew enjoys staying involved on campus, playing golf, and reading.