Meet Our Officers

Valerie Nicholson-Watson
President and CEO

Valerie Nicholson-Watson

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, agency network, 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 services for children ages 6-17, who have been traumatized by abuse, neglect or abandonment, and educational services in a specialized environment. 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, Missouri School District and worked as a journalist for The Kansas City Globe and The Kansas City Call.

Valerie currently serves as chair of the board for the Missouri Food Bank Association, dba Feeding Missouri and is immediate past board chair of Nonprofit Connect. She also serves as treasurer for the W.E.B DuBois Learning Center and is a member of the US Bank Advisory Board.

Her civic activities include membership in the Jackson County (MO) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.

In 2018 she was recognized by United Media Association, Inc. with its Time Well Spent Award. In 2017 she received the Allied Food Club of Kansas City Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Community Service Award from the South Kansas City Alliance. She was named Humanitarian of the Year in 2016 by Church Women United of Kansas City, MO.

In 2015, she was recognized with the Women of Distinction award by Friends of Yates, Inc. She received the Nefertiti Award from 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.

Valerie 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
Chief Operating Officer

Steve Davis

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. 

Steve has served on many Feeding America national network committees including: Annual Leadership Conference Planning, Member Engagement (Better Together) Committee, Connect (IT) Council, Contract Task Force, Food Packing Task Force, Disaster Response Committee, Mid-West Regional Disaster Response Committee, USDA/TEFAP Task Force, and the Operations Technology Consortium. 

His community involvement includes time as a board member and current board president of the Blue Valley Industrial Association and a board member for the Kansas City Industrial Council. Past activities include serving on several other community nonprofit boards in the Kansas City region and other ad hoc advisory groups within the region. Steve lives in Lenexa with his wife and daughter.

Joanna Sebelien
Chief Resource Officer

Joanna Sebelien

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 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 and Global 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 on the board of Empower Missouri (formerly Missouri Association of Social Welfare), 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 Fundraising Professionals Mid America Chapter.

Robin Potts
Chief Financial Officer

Robin Potts

Robin is an accountant with 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and public accounting sectors. The focus of her career has been to provide meaningful financial data to external clients and internal customers. As CFO of Harvesters, she oversees the organization’s finance, accounting, and budgeting functions. Robin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and is licensed as a CPA. She began her career working in the public accounting industry for CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann, a position that was foundational in her training. After her tenure there, she began working in the nonprofit sector in Kansas City. In her present role in the food banking industry, Robin serves as Chair-Elect on the Feeding America National CFO Steering Committee, a committee which addresses financial matters impacting the nation’s food banks. Robin is an alumna of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She has been honored by CBIZ in their Women Transforming Business awards, and she has been recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal as a CFO of the Year.