Each July, DC Central Kitchen recruits a new slate of Board Members who bring diverse experiences, expertise, and insights to our organization and strategy. We are thrilled to announce an inspiring cohort of Board Members commencing their three-year terms this month. This group includes experts on child health and nutrition, business leaders invested in expanding career opportunities for women and people of color, successful entrepreneurs, and proven leaders with lived experience facing the challenges DCCK takes on each day. Please join us in welcoming them!
Sara Frimpong, CEO and Founder, Wellfound Foods. Ms. Frimpong launched her prepared meal company in 2013, growing Wellfound Foods to provide full-scale manufacturing and wholesale distribution of fresh grab-and-go items to more than 50 sites across the region. In 2019, Wellfound developed innovative SmartMarkets, automated tech-enabled fresh food kiosks that are now serving airports, health care facilities, and military installations throughout the DMV. Born in the DC region, Ms. Frimpong previously worked in B2B sales in the start-up space.
Barry James, Senior Vice President; Region Executive, Greater DC Region, Bank of America. Mr. James has served a variety of leadership roles since joining Bank of America in 1993, and is currently responsible for eight Market Leaders and more than 500 associates across the region. A strong advocate of employee advancement and networking, Mr. James is also an active member of Bank of America’s Black Professionals Group, Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement, and Military Support and Assistance Group.
Michael Klein, Chairman of the Board, CoStar Group. Mr. Klein co-founded CoStar Group in 1987, growing it into a public company that provides real-time information on 100 billion square feet of real estate and the services of apartments.com. Mr. Klein is a long-time, transformational supporter of DC Central Kitchen, including empowering us to open our first job training café in Ward 8 in 2019. In addition to his support of DC Central Kitchen, Michael’s philanthropic activities include co-founding The Sunlight Foundation and the Global Warming Mitigation Project, as well as endowing The Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for both the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Raquel D. McConnico, Project Director, The Bizzell Group. Ms. McConnico is responsible for the firm’s logistics management contracts with an array of Federal agencies. She has worked in a variety of conference and travel management, event planning, and logistics management capacities. In 2017, Ms. McConnico graduated from DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program, an experience she calls “life-changing.”
Liz Noe, District Manager, Aramark. Ms. Noe oversees Aramark’s activities at several leading regional venues, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Capital One Arena, the Entertainment & Sports Arena, and Greater Richmond Convention Center. She leads 95 managers and 2,500 employees, earning official recognition for service excellence and integrity. In previous capacities, she has overseen four Super Bowls and three NCAA Tournaments, and is currently active in multiple Aramark employee resource groups, promoting women’s advancement and young professional mentoring.
Dr. Lavdena Orr, MD, Chief Medical Officer, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia. Dr. Orr is responsible for clinical programs and provides oversight of the health plan’s Integrated Health Care Management, Utilization Management, and Quality Programs. Dr. Orr has a long record of professional and volunteer service benefiting children, including working to establish primary health care centers for children in Wards 7 and 8 through the Children’s Hospital Initiative.
Julie Sproesser, Managing Director, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). Ms. Sproesser joined RAMW in 2012, guiding its strategic efforts to provide advocacy, resources, and community-building opportunities to more than 1,300 businesses across the region. She also leads RAMW’s annual gala, The RAMMY Awards and its education foundation, Educated Eats. Ms. Sproesser brings 20 years of hospitality and food industry experience, along with significant involvement in cross-cutting industry and workforce development projects, to her leadership role at DCCK.
Jerome Tennille, Manager of Social Impact and Volunteerism, Marriott International. Mr. Tennille leads Marriott International’s global employee volunteer program and manages The Ritz-Carlton brand’s Community Footprints program. He serves on the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism for the state of Maryland, overseeing and supporting state level AmeriCorps programming and initiatives that contribute to a more positive culture of service. Before joining Marriott International, Mr. Tennille worked for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a national organization that offers help, hope, and healing to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in America’s armed forces, an experience informed by his service as a US Navy veteran.
Dr. Beverley R. Wheeler, Ed.D., Executive Director, DC Hunger Solutions. Dr. Wheeler has led DC Hunger Solutions since 2015, directing its advocacy, policy research, and public education activities to end hunger in our nation’s capital. She was recently recognized by the Smithsonian Institute’s Anacostia Community Museum as one of 12 local leaders of the food justice movement. A native Washingtonian with dual degrees from both Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University, Dr. Wheeler brings three decades of experience in civic engagement, policy development, and education.
The onboarding of new Board Members corresponds with current Board Members reaching the end of their terms of service. DCCK would like to recognize the significant and enduring contributions of our outgoing members Dev Ganesan, Micheline Mendelsohn, George Munz, and our Chair, Don Shapiro. We owe each of these individuals our gratitude. For Dev’s thoughts on what he took away from his Board service experience, see his interview here.