Meet Our Team

Employment Opportunities

Headshot, Sneed, Helen G, cropped

Helen G. Sneed
Interim CEO

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Coming Soon


Cathy Bicknell
Director, Finance

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Cathy Bicknell is the Finance Director of United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Her educational background includes a Bachelors in Business Administration that laid the foundation for her years of experience in various finance roles and positions. In fact, Cathy joined us with a great deal of familiarity with the United Way financial model, having served in a financial capacity at the United Way of McLean County and the United Way of Marion County.

A goal of Cathy’s is to consistently, and with the highest degree of compliance quality, grow this United Way to heights it’s never reached before, including the achievement of a new UWW Metro ranking and an excess of $4M in revenue, along with, of course, pristine, accurate, and compliant audits and 990 documentation.  

Nishika Stafford
Director, Family Stability Services


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Nishika Stafford earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work at the University of Central Florida with a minor in Aging Studies and is currently a student of Florida International University working on achieving her Master of Health Administration. While achieving her degree, she worked in long term care. Nishika has volunteered through UCF with assisting the homeless population and an active volunteer in Lake and Sumter counties non-profit events.

Nishika is a native of Central Florida and resides here with her two children. She finds joy in helping individual and families within her community who are born with societal disadvantages and fighting an up-hill battle. She enjoys encouraging youth to strive towards goals and making them aware of their potential to achieve all dreams.


Ken Lee
Office Manager

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Ken grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He moved to Chicago in the early 90’s to become more involved in professional, non-equity theatre.

Ken was a founding member of the Collaboraction Theatre Company and managing director of the Pyewacket Theatre Company. He was fortunate to work with Francis Ford Coppola’s team, at American Zoetrope, to acquire the rights to produce the world premiere of Mr. Coppola’s “The Conversation,” which Ken also directed. Ken was nominated for the best director Joseph Jefferson Award for Jeff Daniels’ “Boomtown.”

At the MacArthur Foundation, Ken worked in human rights and girls’ secondary education as well as volunteering as the Chicago-based coordinator of the Uganda Fund, a fund to help girls in northern Uganda thrive.

Unusual facts: There is a photo of Ken standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, on top of the Berlin Wall. In 2012, Ken attended a human rights discussion, in a 300-person auditorium, where, in attendance, were Nobel Laureate guests Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Wałęsa and the Dali Lama. Very cool!

Having earned a degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, working in real estate, marketing, management consulting, philanthropy and non-equity theatre, Ken, our office manager, brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and willingness to learn to our United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. 


Victoria Durham
Finance Coordinator

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   Victoria is a native Texan & has been residing in Florida for over 25 years. She is a devoted mother of two and a proud citizen of Lake County. As one of the newest additions to our finance department, she has extensive background in all aspects of sales, marketing, and financial management. Victoria found United Way to be the perfect fit for her skill set to be utilized for growth and advancement to our Lake & Sumter communities.


Tracey Schoonmaker
Mission United Coordinator

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Tracey Schoonmaker is currently serving as the Coordinator of Mission United of United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Mission United is designed to assist veterans in six key areas, which include: Health, Education, Employment, Financial Stability, Legal and Housing.

Tracey spent 24 years with the US Army rising to the rank of Lt. Col with successive assignments in various military assignments. He then was employed for the next 24 years in several positions in post-secondary education ranging from Campus Director, Vice President International operations, Vice President Brazilian operations, Regional Financial Director and Faculty member. Has also established and developed campuses in Orlando, Brazil, and India. He and his family currently reside in Howey in the Hills.


Danielle Heider 
Community Impact Coordinator

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Danielle is our Community Impact Coordinator. Community Impact is achieved through the cooperation of area non-profits, for-profits, individuals and government agencies in solidarity towards specific social service program goals. United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties focuses on education, income, and health as the building blocks for a good life and a strong community. Danielle’s  goal is to create lasting change through Community Impact initiatives by addressing the underlying causes of problems that stand in the way of families striving for a better life.


Rebecca Morales
Administrative Assistant, Family Stability Services

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Rebecca is a native Floridian and serves as our valued administrative assistant for our Family Stability Services department. Her experience stems from the medical records and administration arena, with a focus on all things customer service. With a heart for service and helping others, as well as a cherished love of family, she is always bringing her best self to the company each day, assisting clients and working with those in need, at often their most trying time. Rebecca helps us to reach one of our many goals, which is helping families to achieve stability.


Felicia Hoffman

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Felicia serves our United Way as an AmeriCorps Vista. Her area of focus is our marketing efforts and social media and the term of her Vista role is one year.  Prior to joining our United Way team, Felicia has considered and is still looking into attending flight school. 

A native Lake County resident, Felicia grew up in Eustis and has lived in the area her whole life, with a short stint in the state of Tennessee. In her spare fun times, she love to create art, is learning how to create music, and even dabbles a bit in wood working.


Veronica Whetro

Grant Writer

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Veronica is a native Floridian who grew up in Eustis, Florida. As an avid horseback rider and former barrel racer, she approaches grant writing with the same enthusiasm and tenacity that she did each and every equestrian event.

A graduate of Eustis high school, Veronica also has an AA from Lake Sumter State College. Her non-profit background includes multiple local agencies and her experience in grant writing is growing exponentially. When not writing grants or pursuing additional funding opportunities for our United Way, she enjoys family time and spending the precious moments with her three children and hubby on their local farm.

Keia Brown

Keia Wilson
Case Manager

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Keia Wilson is a Case Manager with United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. She holds a BS in Business and Accounting and has had 18 years of experience in the medical field. Her passion is in raising morale and establishing strong communication along with a trusting therapeutic relationship with clients of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures.

She has worked with youth as a mentor, clients in need with funding options, and even helped clients assess the risks and outcomes of many of their decisions, using skills learned from when she was a data analyst. Keia tends to roam both counties in our service area, so you may spot her in Sumterville, Mount Dora, or even the South Lake area, as well as her home base of right here in Leesburg.


Connie Driver
Case Manager, Family Stability Services

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Thawanna Hurge
Master Teacher

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Thawanna worked in the Department of Corrections for 10 years after graduating High School. She then started volunteering at Head Start only to realized how much I loved watching the children learn and grow.  Accepted a full time position there in the year 2000,and  it became very evident that she was following what she was passionate about.  Thawanna has been in Early Childhood for 21 years.  Most recent was serving staff and families as Director of Little Buffalo in the Villages.

I am a proud mom of two amazing sons and a beautiful granddaughter.  I firmly believe that all children can learn.  We must create environments they feel safe and accepted in.  There is no greater feeling than watching the change in little learners.  I believe that when teachers are supported with resources and knowledge they can make a difference.  Pouring into our little learners will in turn produce productive well rounded confident citizens.  I hold a Child Development Associates, Florida Daycare Directors Credentials and a Bachelors of Religious Arts in Biblical Studies.  Also a member of Florida Association of Childcare Management.

There is Nothing as Powerful as a Changed Mind”Thawanna Newton


Mick Stocum

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Emery McClenny

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Emery serves our United Way as an AmeriCorps Vista. His area of focus is our volunteer engagement program and the term of his Vista role is one year. Prior to joining our United Way team, Emery attended Stetson University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

A native Lake County resident, Emery grew up in Mount Dora and some of his favorite fun time activities include making music and working with his new keyboard to come up with the latest in EDM. Yep, we had to ask what that stood for, too.

We value diversity…

At United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of who we are. Our commitment to these values is unwavering – across all of our work in both of our two counties we have the pleasure of serving. They are central to our mission and vision, as well as our community impact. We know that having varied perspectives, backgrounds, and points of view, are able to help generate better ideas to solve the complex problems of a changing—and increasingly diverse—world.