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:

NCECF's mission is to marshal North Carolina’s great people, ideas, and achievements to ensure equitable access to opportunity and success for every child by the end of third grade.

We are driven by a bold and achievable vision: each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being, supported by a comprehensive and equitable care and education system, from prenatal through third grade.

NCECF works to promote understanding, spearhead collaboration, and advance policies to ensure each North Carolina child is on track for lifelong success by the end of third grade.

North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation Staff


Lisa Finaldi

Community Engagement Leader

Fawn Pattison

Interim Executive Director

Kaylan Sloane

Finance and Operational Manager

Dr. Micere Keels

Policy and Practice Leader

Crystal Folmar

Project Coordinator

Family Forward NC Strategy Consultant


Emily Swartzlander

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 Family Forward NC's work.

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Lisa Alston

Human Resources Director, Town of Rolesville (Rolesville)

Joyce Bannerman

Director, Student Success and Testing, St. Augustine's University (Raleigh)
Kathryn Brant

Kathryn Brant

Director, Human Resources, Automated Solutions (Granite Falls)
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Kelly Calabria

President and CEO, Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (Raleigh)

Kathy Colville

President and CEO, North Carolina Institute of Medicine (Raleigh)
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Kit Cramer

President and CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (Asheville)
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Safiyah Jackson

Chief Strategy Officer, North Carolina Partnership for Children (Raleigh)

Velva Jenkins

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Lower Cape Fear (Wilmington)
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Julia Malinowski

Director of Strategic Initiatives, CornerSquare Community Capital (Durham)

Suzanne Katzenstein

Instructor, Hart Leadership Program, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University (Durham)
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Dr. Nina Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences, North Carolina Central University (Durham)
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Lizzy Tahsuda

Implementation Manager, Center for Creative Leadership (Greensboro)

James Wolfe

Existing Industry Manager - Southeast, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (Calypso)
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Steve Wuench

Co-founder, Eastcut Sandwich Bar (Durham)

Previous Advisors

  • Andrew Herdman, Vice President of Group Human Resources, Mayne Pharma
  • Briles Johnson, Former Executive Director, Women's Business Center of North Carolina
  • Jessica Lowery Clark, Executive Director, Robeson County Partnership for Children
  • Fara Palumbo, Chief People Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Luis Pastor, President and CEO, Cooperative Latino Credit Union
  • Alison Steube, Associate Professor, UNC School of Medicine; Distinguished Scholar in Infant and Young Child Feeding, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Sheilah Sutton, Community Engagement Officer, Coastal Credit Union
  • Gregor Teusch, Global Head of People Reward and Operations, Nikola Motor Company
  • Betsy Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Services