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Valerie Nicholson-Watson is the fourth person to lead Harvesters—The Community Food Network, the regional Feeding America food bank serving 26 counties in northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. Valerie joined Harvesters in this capacity in 2013, but had previously worked as Harvesters’ director of community services, responsible for the food bank’s advocacy, communications, nutrition services and volunteer program from 1999-2004. She served on the Harvesters’ board of directors from 2007 to 2013.
Prior to joining Harvesters, Valerie was a leader in the local nonprofit community as the president and chief executive officer of the Niles Home for Children. The Niles Home provides residential and day services for children ages 6-17, who have been traumatized by abuse, neglect or abandonment. The agency in 2008 was one of two agencies nationwide awarded the “Innovative Practices” Award from the Council on Accreditation (COA) for its Hip Health initiative.
She also has held communications positions at Gateway, Inc., and the Kansas City, Mo., School District and worked as a journalist for the Kansas City Globe and The Kansas City Call.
Valerie currently serves as treasurer of the board for Nonprofit Connect. She is a board member and past chairperson for Kansas City Metro CARES Mentoring Movement, part of a national effort to increase the number of African-American mentors. She is also a member of the US Bank Advisory Board. Previously, she served as treasurer of the Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies (MCCA), served on the board of the Guadalupe Centers, Inc., and has been active with the Heart of America United Way Campaign. In 2015, she was recognized as a “Black Woman of Distinction” from Friends of Yates, Inc. She received the Nefertiti Award from the Societas Docta, Incorporated in 2014. Valerie was recognized for her volunteer service with a 2013 President’s Volunteer Service Award, and by the 100 Black Men of Kansas City with their 2012 Health and Wellness Award. She was named by the Kansas City Globe as one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in Greater Kansas City.
Nicholson-Watson has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MBA from Webster University. She lives in Lee’s Summit, Mo., with her husband, Mark Watson. They have two sons and are the proud grandparents of three grandsons.
Steve Davis joined Harvesters in June of 2015. He previously worked nearly 11 years with the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas. Steve was the Director of Budget and Business Operations where he had leadership responsibility for eight departments. Prior to that, Steve served more than eight years in the food service industry as Director of Food and Nutrition Services and then later as Area Manager for Sodexho Management Services at facilities in Oregon, Nevada and California.
Steve earned his MBA at Mid-America Nazarene University and a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Washington State University. While at the Blue Valley School District, Steve was a member of the Kansas Association of Business Officials, serving as Vice President, President Elect and then President in the 2014-2015 school year.
His community involvement includes time as a board member and on the board leadership of YouthFront and as a board member of Franklin Center. Past activities include serving as a youth mentor for Youth Friends and as a participant of the Leadership Chula Vista Program with the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce.
Steve lives in Overland Park with his wife and daughter.
Joanna Sebelien oversees Harvesters’ fundraising, volunteer, food acquisition, communications and advocacy programs and activities. Joanna joined Harvesters in August of 2001, she previously worked in higher education and youth-based nonprofit organizations for 23 years.
Joanna graduated from Boston College with honors and obtained her master’s degree from Central Michigan University. She has served on the national food sourcing, constituent relationship and public policy advisory committees for Feeding America and on the Breakfast in the Classroom and Hunger Leader groups for the Food Research and Action Center. She is a member of Feeding Missouri (Missouri Food Bank Association); and serves on the boards of Empower Missouri (formerly, Missouri Association of Social Welfare); and the local and Kansas State boards of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
She is a founding member of Hartsook Companies Kansas City Advisory Council; a member of the American Association of Fundraising Professionals; Rotary 13, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions, Chamber Champions and the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation. Past activities include service as a member of the Non Profit Advisory Group, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and the Heart of America Hunger Coalition.
In 2008, Joanna was recognized as Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fund Raising Professionals Mid America Chapter.
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