Family Forward NC

About Us

Family Forward NC is an innovative initiative to improve the health and well-being of children and their parents and keep North Carolina’s businesses and workplaces competitive. It is employer-led change to increase access to research-based, family-friendly practices—big and small—that improve workplace productivity, recruitment and retention; grow a strong economy; and support children’s healthy development.

Our Mission and Vision

The mission of Family Forward NC is to engage, support, and promote employers of all sizes and in all sectors in adopting family-friendly policies that improve child and family health and well-being and provide direct business benefits to employers.

Our vision is a North Carolina where:

  • Workplaces are family-friendly.
  • Children’s healthy development is supported, especially children who face the greatest challenges in their early years.
  • NC businesses are competitive.
  • Our next-generation workforce is successful.
NC Early Childhood Foundation

About the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation:

The mission of NCECF is to marshal North Carolina’s great people, ideas and achievements to build a foundation of opportunity and success for every child by the end of third grade.

NCECF is driven by a bold — and achievable — vision: Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being supported by a premiere birth-to-age-eight system.

NCECF works to create the conditions that allow others to be most effective. We leverage and enhance the assets of our partners so everyone can do what they do best. We are committed to creating an environment that brings many voices to the table to accelerate collaboration toward a common agenda and support a shared course of action.

North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation Staff


Lisa Finaldi

Community Engagement Leader

Muffy Grant

Executive Director

Kaylan Johnson

Accounting Associate

Mary Mathew

Collaboration Action Manager

Sumera Syed

Organizational Manager

Family Forward NC Consultants

Photograph of Nina Smith

Nina Smith

Assistant Professor of Human Resources at NC Central University and Research Advisor, Family Forward NC

Emily Swartzlander

Chief Strategist, Family Forward NC and President, EBS Strategies

Advisory Council

The Family Forward NC Advisory Council is a group of prominent North Carolina business and community representatives and health experts who provided review and support of the Guide to Family Forward Workplaces and provide ongoing support of Family Forward NC.

Photograph of Kit Cramer

Kit Cramer

President and CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (Asheville)
Photograph of Velva Jenkins

Velva Jenkins

Former Vice-President, Continuing Education, Economic & Workforce Development, Brunswick Community College (Bolivia)
Photograph of Andrew Herdman

Andrew Herdman

Vice President, Group Human Resources, Mayne Pharma (Greenville)
Photograph of Briles Johnson

Briles Johnson

Former Executive Director, Women’s Business Center of North Carolina (Durham)
Photograph of Jessica Lowery Clark

Jessica Lowery Clark

Executive Director, Robeson County Partnership for Children (Lumberton)
Photograph of Fara Palumbo

Fara Palumbo

Chief People Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Durham)
Photograph of Luis Pastor

Luis Pastor

President and CEO, Cooperative Latino Credit Union (Durham)
Photograph of Alison Stuebe

Alison Steube

Associate Professor, UNC School of Medicine; Distinguished Scholar in Infant and Young Child Feeding, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (Chapel Hill)
Photograph of Sheilah Sutton

Sheilah Sutton

City Commissioner, Town of Rolesville (Rolesville)
Photograph of Gregor Teusch

Gregor Teusch

Former Vice President for Reward and Experience, Lowe’s (Mooresville)
Photograph of Betsey Tilson

Betsey Tilson

State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Services (Raleigh)