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SCI welcomes new directors to board for 2020

  • Oct 16, 2019
  • Shannon Nickinson
welcome sign welcome sign

The Studer Community Institute is proud to welcome new members to the SCI Board of Directors.


These people could give their time, talent and treasure to any number of outstanding organizations in the Pensacola community. SCI is very proud that they have chosen to share their gifts with us.

Founded as a nonprofit in 2016, SCI has grown into a leader in driving community change.

Our in-hospital and community-based education projects that aim to increase school readiness among our children have reached more than 12,500 families since the work began in 2017 — including the 5,000 women who give birth in Escambia County each year. Parents who received a Brain Bag, who participated in parent education research from the University of Chicago or who were served by our direct parent outreach programs with LENA Start and Area Housing Commission all report their knowledge about the critical importance of language to fuel healthy early brain development increased. That’s important because parents who know more, will do more to help their children thrive and flourish.

Our leadership development division each year touches more than 1,900 people across some 600 businesses. They have attended SCI’s training sessions, including skill development, custom business solutions and EntreCon, Northwest Florida’s premier business and leadership conference.

These tools build healthier businesses through skill development, helping reinforce the economic base of our community — and making this a better place to live, work and play. 

As we continue to grow our work, we are proud to have the guidance and support of the board of directors. For the 2020 year, we will welcome:

For the 2020 year, we will welcome to the board:

— Tosh Belsinger. Founder and president of Gulf Blue Group. Tosh began his professional career as a design associate for golf course architect Tom Fazio. Tosh left Fazio in 2006, relocated to Pensacola, Florida, and has taken on a diversity of endeavors including real estate, property management, consulting, boutique hotel management, retail business and more. 

Thomas Greek, vice president of learning & development for Navy Federal Credit Union. He has been with Navy Federal since 1998, and in those 21 years has worked in numerous positions, including managing Navy Federal’s credit card portfolio. Thomas relocated to Pensacola in January 2012 from Navy Federal’s Headquarters in Vienna, Va. 

Jules Kariher, chief advocacy officer for Ascension Florida. With more than 30 years of advocacy experience in government, nonprofit and public sector experience, Jules' owned her own consulting firm before joining Sacred Heart and Ascension. Her lobbying work in Tallahassee and elsewhere has included work on behalf of vulnerable and poor.

Van Mansker retired as regional director of human resources at Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. A Chicago native, Van has more than 30 years of experience in corporate management with national companies. His extensive community and civic involvement include the governor-appointed member and chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County.

 Tia Robbins is an accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur.Tia started Get Bombshell Fit, a bootcamp for stay-at-home moms. She then turned her focus toward working moms and women with Purple Monkey, a fitness program that brings fitness to the workplace. Tia and her husband, Fred, established Mr. Robbins Neighborhood, to inspire young athletes to excel in school and prepare themselves for college and life after sports.

Kathy Sandstrom. Originally from Pensacola, she spent the past 22 years as a senior partner in Chicago for a private real estate equity firm, Heitman, LLC.  Today, she sits on the board of an S&P 500 healthcare company, HCP, Inc.  She has returned to Pensacola to give back and get involved in the community.

— Joy Sharp is director of community health programs at Baptist Hospital. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Joy is a talented lifestyle coach with a strong background in all aspects of chronic disease management, case management, community project facilitation, curriculum development, grant writing and grant budgeting processes. She has many years’ experience in chronic management/wellness coaching as well as leadership development.

Michelle Snow. Retired WNBA star and entrepreneur. She led PHS to the state basketball championship and was “Miss Basketball” in 1998. She played for the Houston Comets, the Atlanta Dream and the San Antonio Silver Stars, the Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics and LA Sparks. She returned to her hometown to launch her encore business career. 

— Bert Thornton. Retired businessman and author. Bert has been a guest faculty member of SCI and speaker at EntreCon, sharing his knowledge in a career that included being the COO of Waffle House. He is the author of “Find an Old Gorilla,” a business leadership guide. 

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