Advisory Board

Jessica O’Mahony, Public Relations

Her media relations efforts have earned placements for clients with a host of national outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CBS "Early Show," AOL and Associated Press as well as top trade and regional outlets nationwide.Jessica's diverse career in public relations began more than nine years ago with Ketchum (Atlanta) - one of the world's largest PR agencies. She is now a Vice President at French West Vaughn, the Triangle's largest PR agency. At FWV, she has been responsible for developing and executing public relations programs for a variety of agency clients including Minute Maid, NESTEA, Wrangler, Justin Boots, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and TrustAtlantic Bank.

Melissa Hicks MS, CCLS, LPC, RPT

Missi has served as President of the Child Life Council, the professional association for child life specialists.  In addition to being a certified child life specialist, she is also a licensed professional counselor and a registered play therapist and supervisor.Missi has been a child life specialist for over 20 years and almost her entire career has been focused on providing support services to children impacted by cancer.  She has worked in an inpatient setting at both Johns Hopkins Children's Center and AFLAC Cancer Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  She has also worked in community based settings where her positions have been in private practice, the camp setting and also a nonprofit setting providing individual and group counseling to children impacted by cancer.   She is the co-founder of a nonprofit called Wonders & Worries, which has grown exponentially over the past eight years.  She is passionate about psychosocial services for children with cancer and fears that sometimes that aspect of care is overlooked or under appreciated, particularly when competing for limited resources. 

Sarah Thacker, Esq.

Sarah attended Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During her second year, she took her first tax law course and found her calling. Upon graduation, Sarah returned to her home state of Texas and received an advanced law degree in taxation. She spent the next few years teaching accounting, tax, and business ethics at UT-Arlington, working for a regional CPA firm, and lending her expertise to Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. In 2008, Sarah decided it was time to move back to North Carolina so she could will her Carolina Hurricanes to another Stanley Cup victory. In that time, she acted as a general counsel for a multi-state technical consulting business, helping to triple revenues in 2 years while also managing risk and ensuring full compliance with various state and federal laws.

Now, Sarah as the owner of Thacker Law Firm, she lends her voice to many more clients, assisting small businesses, families, and individuals with disputes concerning their taxes, health care coverage, or other benefits. She enjoys the opportunity to help her clients understand all the intricacies of the law so they can feel more empowered through the process and have confidence that their concerns will be addressed. In her spare time, Sarah can be found letting her two large dogs, Daphne and Lilah, walk her around the neighborhood.

Tom Stevens, MSW

Tom is a professional speaker, executive coach, master facilitator, and founder of Think Leadership Ideas, a Triangle based leadership consulting firm. His leadership articles have appeared in Business Leader and Women’s Edge magazines, and he is the creator of the 7 Ideas Coach podcast series on Apple iTunes. Previously Tom served 12 years as the Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of Durham, and has been engaged in many community and philanthropic activities including serving as President of the Durham Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and of Leadership Triangle. Tom is currently serving in his third term as Mayor of Hillsborough, NC.