Annette Lewis has worked at TAP for more than 30 years, starting her career with the agency as a summer youth counselor and later assuming a variety of positions, including supervisor of Head Start family and parent involvement, director of This Valley Works, vice president of programs, and senior vice president of programs, prior to becoming president. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Lewis led the agency in the growth of its education and employment programs that provide a wide array of career development opportunities for youth and adults. Some of the results of her efforts include: forming a statewide employment training network; organizing the first comprehensive regional job fair; establishing an annual football game featuring historically black colleges and universities that raised money for high school dropout retrieval; and honoring individuals who contribute to the success of African-Americans in the community by hosting an annual Black History Month celebration.
A tireless leader and force for good within the community, Ms. Lewis has been the recipient of numerous honors, including 2013 Regional Workforce Development Professional of the Year award; 2009 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in Business; 2008 Psi Phi Citizen of the Year Award; and 2008 TAP Black History African American Achievement Award.
Ms. Lewis serves as a trustee on the Roanoke Higher Education Authority Board and is chairman of the City of Roanoke School Board. She is also a lifetime member of the NAACP; co-founder and member of the board of the domestic violence awareness organization Ladies of Vision (LOV); and has been a faithful working member of Morning Star Baptist Church for over 30 years.
Tabatha Cooper joined TAP in August 2016 as the director of human resources. Ms. Cooper immediately began her career in the human resource field upon graduating from William Fleming Sr. High School. She is also a graduate of Dominion Business School of Roanoke, Virginia. With over 20 years in the human resource field, her experience has given her the opportunity to work for such companies as Carilion Health Systems, the Greater Roanoke Transit Company (Valley Metro), Virginia Transformers and the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center.
Although she is new to the nonprofit world, she feels this is where she belongs because TAP’s mission and vision align with her passion and desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives and in the community she serves. In her spare time, Tabatha enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Kimberly Butler is a strong, no-nonsense, southern woman in the tradition of Julia Sugarbaker. Born and raised in Mississippi, she received both her bachelor and master of accountancy degrees from the University of Mississippi. After graduating, she worked as a public accountant for Watkins, Watkins and Keenan CPAs in Memphis, Tennessee. Her very first audit—perhaps a herald of things to come—was the Shelby County Head Start program. After leaving public accounting, she worked for Embassy Suites and its parent company, Promus Companies, which also owns Harrah’s Casinos and Hampton Inns. As a planner for Promus Companies—whose annual sales exceeded $1 billion—she assisted with the budget, long-range plan, and capital projects analyses. She left that position to open a family business owning and operating three Sonic Drive-Ins located in the Roanoke Valley.
Ms. Butler joined TAP as a staff accountant in 2009 after selling her family business, became assistant director of finance in 2011, and chief financial officer in 2012. Deeply dedicated to public service, she has served as a volunteer coordinator for Family Promise of Roanoke Valley, assisted the City of Roanoke Homeless Assistance Team, and volunteered for various other religious and civic organizations.
Kristen Moses fell into the world of community action by chance when she accepted a job in TAP’s planning department as a planner and grant writer in 2005. Now she is responsible for running that same department as the vice president of planning and resource development. Responsible for raising between $15-18 million every year to support TAP’s efforts, the nine-member planning department serves as the agency’s economic engine, primary think-tank, de facto publications department, occasional editorial board, and sometime pot-stirrers and spear-rattlers.
Ms. Moses received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in art history from Indiana University-Bloomington. Along the way, she drove a transit bus; learned how to fence; worked as a photo and illustration researcher; taught high school; and edited textbooks, museum didactics, and more of her friends’ theses and term papers than she cares to remember. She is, among other things, a weightlifter, knitter, and kung-fu practitioner. An avid reader, she recently rediscovered her love of comic books and graphic novels and yearns for a piece of original pen-and-ink comic book art to frame and display somewhere in her home.
Jo Nelson has been working for TAP in various capacities since 2008 when she became the workforce development program manager, and then assistant director of This Valley Works. Before her time at TAP, Ms. Nelson built a colorful resume, including positions as director of development at Virginia’s Explore Park and the River Foundation, human services curriculum instructor at Central Virginia Community College, and executive director of the Central Virginia Area Agency on Aging.
Ms. Nelson received a bachelor of science in business administration and a master of arts in counseling from Louisiana Tech University. She has also taken master’s level coursework in personnel management and organizational behavior from the University of Southern Mississippi. Aside from her work with TAP, Ms. Nelson is very active in various community organizations including the Lions Club International and Lions of Virginia Foundation where she serves on the board of directors and from which she received the Distinguished Humanitarian Award.
Vice President for Economic & Real Estate Development
Angela Penn has worked in housing development for over a decade. She began her foray into the housing world at the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA), eventually serving as its vice president of real estate development. Before becoming TAP’s vice president for economic and real estate development, she served as director of its housing and community development component. She was instrumental in TAP’s rehabilitation of the 187-unit Terrace Apartments complex located in Roanoke’s Grandin Village, as well as its conversion of the old Raleigh Court Elementary School into TAP Head Start’s Raleigh Court Child Development Center. She is instantly recognizable on any construction site because of her pink hardhat.
Ms. Penn holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from James Madison University and an MBA from Radford University. Deeply engaged in public service, she is a member of the City of Roanoke Planning Commission; served as the 2013 co-chair of the United Way of Roanoke Valley President’s Circle; is as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; and is a member of the Roanoke Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. Widely recognized as a leader in the Roanoke Valley, she recently completed LEAD VIRGINIA’s seven-class program focused on social capital.
Director of Energy Conservation and Housing Rehabilitation
No stranger to the housing sector, John O’Donnell began working in construction in the 1990s before making the jump to the affordable housing industry as a contractor in 2009. In addition to working on the front lines of the field, he has also worked for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development—one of TAP’s funders—overseeing their energy auditing software and conducting technical monitoring. His experience at DHCD and understanding of housing programs at the state level bring a unique advantage to TAP. In order to return to his roots and have a more “hands-on” approach to creating change in his community, John transitioned to the nonprofit sector as director of TAP’s Energy Conservation and Housing Rehabilitation component in July 2019.
Stacey Sheppard is no stranger to the field of human services. She retired as a sergeant from law enforcement after serving the Salem community for nearly 21 years. She currently oversees TAP’s Domestic Violence Services and Sabrina’s Place Safe Exchange/Supervised Visitation programs, and serves as the community education coordinator for both. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ferrum College. She helped found, and continues to serve on, the Roanoke Valley Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. Children’s Trust awarded her the Golden Halo for her work in advocacy for adults and children.
Ms. Sheppard credits her work with families and victims to the love and enthusiasm she has helping survivors of abuse. She feels that no one should hide in the shadows of intimate partner violence and fights for adults and children of abuse. Her greatest activist passions are children’s rights, foster care advancements, adoptive parenting supportive rights, and intimate partner violence prevention.
Curtis Thompson is TAP’s vice president of financial services and director of Business Seed Capital, Inc., the organization’s Treasury-certified Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI). Under his direction, Business Seed obtained both its CDFI and Community Development Entity (CDE) certifications; expanded its service area from 11 localities to the entire state of Virginia; and leveraged over 2 million dollars in federal and private match money into over 130 job-creating businesses.
Mr. Thompson graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Virginia, and obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from Seattle University. He is a Certified Gang Prevention Specialist with over 15 years of experience in the field of youth services. He serves on the Virginia Cares, Inc. board of directors and chairs its finance committee. Before joining TAP, Mr. Thompson founded and ran New Vision Youth Services, a non-profit company dedicated to providing education and prevention programs for high-risk youth, using a holistic approach to becoming positive and productive citizens.
Yesenia De la Cruz joined the team in 2018 after she saw a video about our Domestic Violence Services and decided to bring her 15 years of experience helping low-income families from New York to Roanoke. Yesenia received her master’s degree in education at Lehman College, with additional coursework in early childhood and special education at Touro College. A true expert in the field, throughout her career she has been a teacher, Head Start coordinator, and director of center- and home-based childcare programs and a Certified Childcare Professional program. She feels that her role as director of Head Start and Early Head Start combines everything she’s loved doing in the past.
Yesenia believes Head Start is the best way to deliver early childhood education because it involves not just the child, but the whole family. Running Head Start is more than a job for her and her staff—it’s personal, and their deep investment in children and families brings about change in the whole community. She’s quite busy, but when she does have a spare moment Yesenia enjoys spending time with her two children, visiting wineries, and watching crime shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.