Our Staff

Our Staff

Brad Beauregard

Development Director

When Brad was eight, he wanted to be a rock star. Since then, he’s learned to play and build guitars and has managed athletic equipment for teams at NC State, Wake Forest University, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, often earning the name of “team dad.” As NC Child’s development director, Brad works closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to oversee all of the agency’s fundraising efforts, with an emphasis on individual and corporate giving. He has a BA in Religion from Wake Forest University and is a staunch Demon Deacons fan.

Brad’s favorite thing about working at NC Child: “Being able to support people who are passionate about improving the lives of children in North Carolina.”

Joined the NC Child staff: 2022
Pets: Two dogs, Eli and Frankie

Emily Blevins

Communications Director

When Emily was a kid, she wanted to be an archaeologist. Since then, she’s traded the fascination with digging up ancient civilizations with unearthing the remarkable stories of the people and organizations making a difference in communities across the country.

As Communications Director, Emily leads a multi-channel communications strategy that uplifts our collective opportunities to make a lasting, positive impact on North Carolina’s children. Before coming to NC Child, Emily directed marketing and communications at a statewide Community Development Financial Institution and supported communications in her tenures at the NC Rural Center and the North Carolina Community Foundation. Emily is also the founder of Fireside Creative, a communications consultancy that serves nonprofits and philanthropies across Appalachia and the U.S. Southeast.

When she’s not working, Emily enjoys hunting for treasure at vintage markets, taking classes at her local community arts center, and making headway on her annual Goodreads goal.

Her favorite thing about working at NC Child: making a difference through creativity, coalition building, and team collaboration.

Pets: none (unless you count a few needy houseplants!)

Elizabeth Byrum

Senior Policy Analyst, Early Childhood Education

When Elizabeth was eight, she wanted to be a doctor or an artist. Since then she’s spent time as a YMCA camp counselor, aspiring music journalist, grant writer, social worker, yoga teacher, and overall nonprofit Renaissance woman. As Policy Analyst, Elizabeth collaborates with early childhood advocates to advance policies that provide support and promote sustainable change for North Carolina’s child care system. A Tar Heel born, bred, and dead, Elizabeth received Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and global studies, all from UNC-Chapel Hill. She lives in her hometown of Raleigh with her partner Mike. Outside of the office, Elizabeth enjoys following local music, hiking and camping in NC’s state parks, and cooking semi-elaborate recipes for dinner.

Elizabeth’s favorite thing about working at NC Child: “The kind and thoughtful coworkers that inspire me every day”

Joined NC Child Staff: 2020
Pets: Benjamin Franklin, a temperamental miniature dachshund

Moriah Collins

Community Engagement Specialist

When Moriah Collins was growing up in High Point, N.C., she wanted to be a counselor. While earning her B.A. in Psychology from Elon University, she developed a passion for improving the lives and well-being of children. Now, as the Community Engagement Specialist at NC Child, she works to build and strengthen the Child Advocacy Network (CAN) across the state. She is a committed organizer and racial justice leader both in the nonprofit sector and in her community. When not engaged in critical advocacy efforts, you can find her either on a hiking trail in the great outdoors or curled up with a good book and warm mug of tea.

Favorite thing about working for NC Child: “Working directly with the community and making connections with people that are then used to advocate for policies that improve their lives”

Joined NC Child: 2023
Pets: None

Michael Cooper

Senior Director of Advocacy

When Michael was growing up in the foothills of North Carolina, he wanted to be a sportswriter. As Senior Director of Advocacy, he leads the development and implementation of NC Child’s campaign strategy. Before coming to NC Child, he practiced law, worked for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and served as a Government Affairs Director for the NC Association of Realtors®. Michael is a Community Advisor for Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute and was a 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a fellowship hosted by the George W. Bush Center, the Clinton Center, the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, and the LBJ Foundation. When he’s not working, Michael enjoys reading, hiking, college basketball, and traveling across the state.

Favorite thing about working at NC Child: Working to give every kid a chance in life.
Pets: A dog named Mojo.

Tyler Cox

Executive Assistant/HR Coordinator

When Tyler was growing up, he wanted to be a marine biologist because he loves the ocean and the animals in it. These days, Tyler is making a difference on land as our executive assistant and HR coordinator. He keeps things running smoothly and handles even the smallest details with absolute precision. Prior to joining our team, Tyler worked at NC State Athletics as the Director of Operations running events for the home sports teams. He has a Bachelor’s degree from UNCW in Recreation, Sports Leadership, and Tourism Management.

As someone who grew up in North Carolina, he’s passionate about improving the lives of kids in his hometown and throughout the entire state.

Pets: Two dogs, a Bernese Mountain Dog named Annie and a Large Lunsterlander named Qwara

Morgan Forrester Ray

Director, EarlyWell Initiative
Morgan Forrester (919) 670-2717

When she was 8, Morgan wanted to be a teacher. Today, Morgan is NC Child’s emotional wellness cheerleader, bringing together leaders from across sectors to ensure the mental and emotional health of North Carolina’s infants and toddlers. She grew up in Northern Kentucky and now calls Raleigh, N.C. home. She has an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Morgan’s favorite thing about working at NC Child: “I have two favorite things: the people and the work, so basically it’s like nirvana.”

Joined NC Child Staff: 2019
Pets: Nova, a ten year-old shelter pup

Morgan Forrester

Kim Gibson-Forrest

Director of Finance
Kim Gibson-Forrest (919) 726-6535

Kim has always wanted to be an accountant, even as a little girl, when she dreamed of growing up to work with her Dad – an accountant. As NC Child’s Director of Finance & Administration, Kim manages the organization’s finance and human resource functions. Kim received her BS in – surprise! – accounting from Binghamton University. Outside of work, Kim spends most of her time watching her six kids in action in their wrestling matches, football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball games.

Kim’s favorite thing about working at NC Child: “Knowing I have a small part in making kids’ lives better in NC – not many accountants can say that!”

Joined NC Child Staff: 2017
Pets: 2 dogs, Koda and Bailey

Kim Gibson-Forrest

Tiffany Gladney

Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations
(919) 551-8140

Tiffany Gladney is a communications and advocacy professional with 11 years of experience.  Dedicated to leaving North Carolina a little better than she found it, Gladney has effectively advocated for several pieces of legislation which have led to enhanced newborn screening, increased access to broadband in rural communities, and funding for updating sewer and waste water systems in rural North Carolina, as well as for tobacco cessation and preconception health initiatives.

Gladney’s proudest professional accomplishment is the passage of SB 98, legislation aimed at screening newborns for critical congenital heart defects. At the age of 12, she lost her older brother to an undetected congenital heart defect.

A Winston-Salem native, Gladney graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Media in 2009. Her career kicked off as the Communication Specialist at Saint Augustine’s University. In 2015, Emmy award winning, actor, comedian, and writer Jerrod Carmichael hired Gladney as the social media consultant on his acclaimed nationally televised show, The Carmichael Show.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, interior design DIY projects, and trying out new recipes.

Neil Harrington

Research Director

As NC Child’s Research Director, Neil is committed to supporting NC Child’s policy priorities with high-quality research, data, and analysis. He is passionate about using data and research to illustrate the experiences of North Carolina children and families and identify areas in which state policy can improve opportunities for all children to succeed. Prior to NC Child, Neil worked for the Labor & Economic Analysis Division at the NC Department of Commerce and a research and public relations consulting firm in Jackson, Mississippi, producing political, issues-based, and corporate research for a wide range of clients. He sits on the board of SwingPals, a non-profit organization teaching social-emotional regulation skills to under-resourced kids in Durham Public Schools through golf.

Neil holds a BA in political science from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He lives in Durham with his wife, dog (Burr), and Bengal cat (Seymour Spots). In his free time, Neil enjoys reading, playing golf, traveling, and cooking.

Luna Homsi 

Research and Data Analyst

Luna Homsi grew up in Maryland and dreamed of becoming a pediatrician or a librarian when she grew up. She spent many summers interning in cancer-bio laboratories and volunteering at hospitals in the greater Washington, D.C. area. It was in those settings that she realized she’d like to help create large-scale change in healthcare. In her role as Health Policy Analyst, Luna’s work supports multi-year initiatives to eliminate childhood lead exposure, improve access to healthcare, and address Social Determinants of Health in our state. Luna received a Master of Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and uses those skills to lead NC Child’s data, research, and KIDSCOUNT work. Before she was a Tar Heel, she was a Terp and received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

When she’s not designing surveys and analyzing data, Luna loves to try new recipes from The New York Times cooking app and see movies at the Chelsea Theater in Chapel Hill.

Luna’s favorite thing about working at NC Child: Doing exciting and meaningful work that has a positive impact on kids around the state.

Joined the NC Child staff: 2022
Pets: None, but she has big plans to foster some pets and help them find furever homes

Nylia Jeffreys

CandL Intern

Nylia is an undergraduate student at East Carolina University (ECU) majoring in Social Work with a minor in School Social Work. At ECU, she serves as the President of the Bachelor of Social Work Student Association, and she is a member of ECU’s Maternal Child Health Scholarly, Training, and Enrichment Program. In her free time, she loves to play with her nephews.

Favorite thing about working at NC Child: The in-person staff meetings where we all get to meet face-to-face.

Pets: None at the moment, but her favorite breed of dog is Chihuahua.

Taylor Main

Marketing Manager

As Marketing Manager, Taylor Main keeps the NC Child team running smoothly. When she was growing up in Virginia, she wanted to be a marine photographer. Now, when she’s not at NC Child, she is still an avid photographer specializing in weddings as well as a traveler, donut enthusiast, and loyal fan of the Atlanta Braves. She has a professional background as a videographer, photographer, and social media manager and holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University.

Favorite thing about working for NC Child: Being part of an organization that is making a difference in the lives of children

Pets: A dog named Remy and cats named Pepper and Mozzie

Erica Palmer Smith

Executive Director

When Erica Palmer Smith was eight years old, her dream was to be an author. She later decided that she would rather help write a better future by influencing policy to support children and families. As Executive Director of NC Child, she leads a team that does just that.

Before joining NC Child, Erica was the Executive Director of Care4Carolina, a statewide coalition of more than 150 organizations dedicated to closing the state’s health insurance coverage gap. Prior to that role, Erica served as Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Kentucky.

A native of rural North Carolina, Erica grew up in Sampson and Alexander Counties. She received her B.S. and M.A in political science from Appalachian State University. Erica resides in Fuquay-Varina with her husband, Ryan, and daughter, Alice.

Joined NC Child Staff: 2022

Hannah Preston

Health Policy Anaylst

Hannah Preston comes to us from the University of North Carolina Gilling’s School of Public Health with a master’s degree in health policy. She was a master’s fellow for the NC Division of Health Benefits (Medicaid) throughout her graduate program. As a Health Policy Analyst, Preston works closely with the Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations to lead administrative policy with an emphasis on Medicaid in North Carolina.

Preston’s passion for health policy started at age 17. As a legislative fellow for the Baltimore City Health Department, she helped pass the Health Beverages for Kids Meals bill. This bill addressed childhood obesity in the city by requiring restaurants to offer healthy default options for kid’s meals such as water, milk, and 100% fruit juice.

Preston has a BS from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. When she is not at work, she is organizing within her community in Durham County, where she is the city youth representative for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

In her free time, she enjoys going to the Durham Farmers Market, painting, and hosting events.

Lissette Rodriguez

Parent Engagement Manager

Lissette Rodriguez is the Parent Engagement Manager at NC Child. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. She has dedicated over 12 years of her life working with children and their families through multiple facets of the social work field. Lissette prides herself in the work that she and her team do to support North Carolina’s families and their children. Her goal is to ensure that the voices of the community are centered and amplified. Her core values are authenticity, integrity, and unity. Equity and advocacy are the pillars to which she grounds herself professionally and personally.  

Cassandra Rycek

Policy Team Practicum Student

When Cassandra Rycek was eight, she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a living, but she knew she wanted to make a difference in the world. As NC Child’s Policy Team Practicum Student, she’s making it easier for policy makers to engage with early childhood education issues. Cassandra has a background as a fundraising professional in the educational sector. She also facilitated the opening of a private high school serving under-represented populations in the Triangle. She is pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s passionate about advocating for human rights.

Favorite thing about working at NC Child: Having the opportunity to address systemic issues that impact child health in direct, engaging ways.

Pets: Theo, a Foxhound mix, and Sammy, a Maltese mix

Kelvin Stallings

Director of Community Engagement

Kelvin Stallings is an outreach and policy professional with almost a decade of experience navigating the intricacies of state government and public advocacy. Kelvin most recently served as the Policy and Advocacy Manager at Children’s Home Society of North Carolina where he led sustainability efforts around multiple agency programs and helped coordinate the overall advocacy and engagement strategy at the North Carolina General Assembly on behalf of the agency. Prior to Children’s Home Society, Kelvin served as a Legislative Assistant to State Representative Abraham Jones of Wake County for two years in the North Carolina House of Representatives.Kelvin’s experiences over the years equipped him with a profound understanding of the legislative process and the importance of stakeholder engagement, leading him to various impactful roles in political activism. A proud graduate of Elizabeth City State University and East Carolina University, Kelvin currently lives in Southwest Raleigh with his wife, Allysa, and their dog, Olive.

Peyton Upchurch

Research Assistant

My name is Peyton (she/her) and I am from Western North Carolina. I graduated from UNC Greensboro in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with concentrations in legal studies and social work. During my time at UNCG, I worked with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Center for New North Carolinians, where I gained experience working with students directly impacted by North Carolina education, healthcare, and immigration policy. In the fall, I will attend American University in Washington, D.C. in pursuit of a Master of Education in Education Policy and Leadership. I am passionate about advocacy work and community-driven research, and I am excited to be part of the team at NC Child!

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