Our Team

The Connect Our Kids team members are dedicated volunteers and advocates that envision a world where every child in foster care has a permanent loving home.

Leadership

Jennifer Jacobs

CEO
Dr. Jennifer Jacobs has spent a career in leadership and problem solving: in the Army, at a national lab, in government and in business management. She is a West Point graduate and a former White House Fellow.

Jessica Stern

COO
Jessica Stern has 20 years' experience in project management, communications, marketing and philanthropic fundraising. Appointed by the Governor of Virginia, she serves on the State Executive Council for Children Services.

Cara Dobbins

CFO
Cara Dobbins has 20 years' working knowledge of management, accounting, government contracting, and customer service. She brings her enthusiasm and deep desire to bring advancement into the foster system.

Travis Collins

CTO
Travis is a has two decades of experience as a technology executive in enterprise software. Travis has a passion for weaving together highly talented teams to execute against difficult problems.

Advisors

Lisa Cohen

Strategic Advisor
Lisa Cohen grew up in the Washington DC foster care system. She has experienced first hand the challenges of the child welfare system and is passionate about reform. She is a former championship boxer, and author of the autobiography, Being Too Fierce. Lisa works tirelessly to ensure that every child has a chance at a bright future.

Jelani Freeman

Strategic Advisor
Jelani Freeman is a community leader, attorney, and motivational speaker who has dedicated his life to helping children. His commitment grew from his own experience in foster care. Jelani has worked in multiple agencies that serve youth, and volunteers as a CASA in Washington D.C.

Shawn Carpenter

Technical Advisor
Shawn has over 30 years of experience in the world of cyber security, tech start-ups, and strategic investing. Shawn brings an extensive network of disruptors and change-makers, as well as a deep understanding of the opportunities that technology brings.

Samantha Stepleton

Social Services Advisor
Samantha has worked in social services for over 20 years, bringing a passion for improving opportunities for children and families. Samantha is especially focused on the impact of trauma in childhood experiences, and how to improve healing.

And Meet Some of Our Technology Volunteers!

Eleasah Halsmer

Software Developer
Eleasah worked on backend and frontend development of the Impact Dashboard.

William Brooks

Software Developer
William worked on development of the Impact Dashboard.

Diane Myers

UX Designer
Diane designed the user experience for the Impact Dashboard and the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Scott Beeker

Software Developer
Scott worked on development of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Irving Duran

Team Lead
Irving lead the team of software developers on version 2 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Tania Keller

Software Developer
Tania worked on development of version 2 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Bryan Szendel

Software Developer
Bryan worked on version 2 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Bishop Lake

Software Developer
Bishop worked on version 2 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Marques Johnson

Software Developer
Marques worked on version 2 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Judy Ghashim

UX Designer
Judy designed the user experience on the Impact Dashboard and the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Ryan Walker

Software Developer
Ryan worked on version 1 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Sean Pheneger

Software Developer
Sean worked on version 1 of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Matt Herich

Software Developer
Matt collaborated on the initial version of Impact Dashboard and made extensive contributions to the serverless deployment and build process.

Pedro Montesinos

Software Developer
Pedro worked on the development of the first version of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.

Asa Shalom

Software Developer
Asa was one of the original software developers that helped to develop the Connect Our Kids app.

Blaine Blonquist

Software Developer
Worked on the second version of the Connect Our Kids mobile app.
We Are On A Mission
Our team is committed to helping every child in foster care achieve permanency.
Learn More About Our Mission