Thompson Leadership

President/CEO- Will Jones

Will Jones has devoted his career to child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health services in residential- and community-based programming.

He joins Thompson with nearly 23 years of human services experience. Fifteen of those years were in senior- and executive-level leadership in public and private agencies.

He emphasizes innovation and creativity in solving complex problems, often through public and private partnerships, while leading high-performing, cross-functional teams.

Will started his career in 1994 with the Orange County Youth & Family Services Division in Florida where he spent eight years and led the organization to become the second public child welfare agency in Florida to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

At the Children’s Home Society of Florida in Orlando – where Will was director of program operations from 2005 to 2008 – he had overall responsibility for more than 100 child welfare staff, a budget of $15 million and day-to-day operations of programs including adoption, foster care, two emergency shelters and more.

As senior vice president of One Hope United in Orlando, Fla., he was responsible for overseeing child protective services in seven Florida counties.

From 2012 to 2015, he was chief operating officer at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit child and family service organizations. As a member of the executive leadership team, he helped generate substantial national growth in direct service work and consulting. Eckerd had an annual budget of $185 million, and Will oversaw more than 40 programs in 11 states, including North Carolina. 

In 2015, Will joined SAS, the largest privately owned software company in the world, as human services industry consultant. At SAS, he worked closely with state and local agencies and leaders to solve problems and improve outcomes using data analytics.

He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida. Will and his wife, Yereely, and their five children live in Waxhaw.

3/16/17 Press Release

Charlotte Observer Article 3/20/17


Chief Operations Officer- Anthony Jones

Chief Operations Officer Anthony Jones oversees the mission, vision, and philosophy of Thompson. He assists in establishing strategic direction for all of our programs and facilitates objective accomplishment. He received his Bachelor of Social Work from Mars Hill University and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Business Management and Leadership at Liberty University. He is bringing to Thompson over 20 years of experience in juvenile justice and rehabilitation.


Chief Administrative Officer- Andrea Smith

Chief Administrative Officer Andrea Smith leads Thompson’s Business Development, Grants, and Human Resources teams through fiscal efficiency, long-term relationships, and adherence to the agency’s mission. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She brings nearly 20 years of combined for-profit and non-profit experience in business development, management, and oversight.


Chief Facilities Officer- Danny Whitley

Chief Facility Officer, Danny Whitley, has expanded oversight and meeting of licensing regulations for four campuses with the responsibility of Supervision for Thompson’s Maintenance, Foodservice and Information Technology Departments. Mr. Whitley received a Bachelor’s in Parks and Recreation Administration from Wingate College. He has 24+ years experience at Thompson as Director of Recreation Therapy, Director of Campus Life, Director of Residential Services, Director of Facility Services and Vice President of Facility Services.


Chief of Programs – Matt Simon

As Chief of Programs, Matt Simon is responsible for the successful operations of all service lines at Thompson including Outpatient Services, Community Based Services, Family Services, Foster Care, Residential Services, and Early Childhood IMPACT. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Matt has dedicated his career to creating programs that create multi-generational, systemic impact for youth and families. Matt has also been an advocate for approaching every situation with a trauma-informed lens. Matt believes that no problems are created in a vacuum, and therefore no solutions will be either…it takes an entire team of professionals and family members to make long-term change happen. Prior to coming to Thompson, Matt worked as Clinical Director for both for-profit and non-profit mental health organizations in Mecklenburg County, overseeing residential and community based programs. Matt has dedicated his entire adult life to supporting at-risk youth and families and is honored every day to get up and do this work.


Chief Performance and Quality Officer – Hannah Dunham

Chief Performance and Quality Officer, Hannah Dunham, oversees the performance & quality improvement processes as well as human resources for the organization. Hannah assists with the evaluation of performance outcomes through data analysis, monitoring of compliance with internal and external standards including programmatic contracts with funders and stakeholders, and oversees grievances and client rights violations. Hannah received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill and Master’s in Social Work from NC A&T State University and UNC-Greensboro. Hannah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has more than 14 years of experience working with youth and families in the mental health/substance use, child welfare, and/or juvenile justice system.


VP of Development – Justin Ellis

Vice President of Development Justin Ellis oversees fundraising and relationship development of all the many individuals and organizations that support the mission and vision of Thompson. He leads a team that is engaging in vision building initiatives, and works to enlarge the footprint and deepen the impact from those that stand in the gap with us in our communities. He received a Bachelor of Missions and Ministry from Gordon College. He brings over 10 years of experience in Non-profits and fundraising work.


Chief Financial Officer – Laura Stein

As CFO, Laura is responsible for all aspects of Thompson’s finances, including financial planning and analysis, accounting, the development and management of budgets, preparation of financial statements and reporting to the Board of Trustees and the public.
Laura joined Thompson with over 20 years of experience in accounting and finance in public, private and non-profit entities, with a focus on improving performance and productivity through streamlining policies and creating accountability systems. Prior to joining Thompson, Laura was employed at Charlotte Community Health Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, leading the organization’s financial strategy as Chief Financial Officer during a period of rapid growth and change.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell University and an MBA from New York University.


Board of Trustees Roster 2019-2020


  • Gilbert E. Galle: Chair of the Board
  • Nancy Downing: Vice Chair of the Board
  • Douglas J. Fowler: Treasurer
  • Karen Timmons Ellison: Secretary
  • Will A. Jones:: President/CEO*
  • Unfilled: Assistant Board Secretary*


Class of 2020

  1. Mrs. Barbara K. Bascom: Client and Community Relations Director, PNC Bank, barbara.bascom@pnc.com
  2. Mr. Frederic H. (Ted) Garner, IV ~: Managing Director, Piper Jaffray Charlotte, ted.h.garner@pjc.com
  3. Mr. Gregory L. Taylor: Business Owner, Action International, taylorgreg4@gmail.com
  4. Ms. Karen Timmons Ellison~: Librarian, Gaston Day School, kdte111@hotmail.com


Class of 2021

  1. Mr. Carl (De) Cordell~: Principal, BlueCap Marketing, LLC, DeCordell@iHeartmedia.com
  2. Ms. Nancy Downing: Community Volunteer, ndowning1829@gmail.com
  3. Mr. Gilbert E. Galle~: Retired, Community Volunteer, gilbertgalle@mac.com
  4. Mr. Rhondale Haywood: Senior Vice President/Portfolio Manager, US Trust, rhondale.haywood@bofa.com
  5. Mrs. Heather Lawrence: Community Volunteer, heatherlawrence@carolina.rr.com


Class of 2022

  1. Mr. Christopher Y. Cooley~: Community Volunteer, cyccooley@gmail.com
  2. Mr. Douglas J. Fowler~: COO, The Daniel Group, dougfowler@thedanielgroup.com
  3. Mr. J.D. Costa: Partner, McGuireWoods, jdcosta@mcguirewoods.com
  4. Mr. Steve Hall: Head of School, Brookstone Schools of Mecklenburg County,
  5. Dr. Kendra Ham, MD, FAAP: Regional Medical Director, Atrium Health,
  6. Mr. John Murchison: Managing Director, Wells Fargo, john.h.murchison@gmail.com
  7. Mrs. Sarah Gordon: COO & Head of Global Regulatory Relations and Governance, Bank of America, sarah.f.gordon@bankofamerica.com


*Staff Positions
~ Serving their second consecutive term
Updated February 13, 2020

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