MEET THE FAMILY-MATCH TEAM

Thea Ramirez

Thea Ramirez, Founder and Chief Sharer, Family-Match and Adoption-Share

Thea Ramirez is the Founder and CEO of Adoption-Share, a national website designed to bring efficiency and transparency to the adoption process. Thea holds a masters degree in clinical social work and is known for envisioning and implementing big ideas that create collaboration among people and organizations. In addition to being named a "Young Influencer" by Catalyst (catalystspace.com), she has been featured and published on national platforms such as CNN, Christianity Today, Parents.com and The Washington Times. She is married to Lucas Ramirez and together they have three children. The Ramirez family resides in the historic downtown neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia where they are busy completing their second historic home renovation.

Andrew Paulson

Andrew Paulson, Lead Technologist

Andrew has over 25 years of experience designing, developing and implementing web sites and Internet applications for a variety of Fortune 1000, non-profits, and higher education organizations. He started his career as Harvard University’s inaugural Web Master. He was the founder of NewVantage, Inc., an "on-time, on-budget, on-target" web-solutions consulting company that developed applications for companies like Staples, Sapient, Boston.com, Dunkin Donuts, Harvard University, and GE Capital. Andrew led the company for 5 years to a point where it employed approximately 35 people and was doing several millions dollars of business a year. After selling NewVantage, Andrew went on to work with start up companies ranging from small Non-Profits and artists to large organizations such as Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and New York University. Andrew is responsible for developing Thea’s vision and bringing Family-Match to life.

Heather Setrakian

Heather Setrakian, M.A. Senior Consultant of Research and Data Analytics

Ms. Setrakian is the co-founder and principle consultant with SGC. Prior to joining SGC she was founder of the market research firm Sigma Research and a Senior Researcher at eHarmony. While at eHarmony, Ms. Setrakian co-founded the eHarmony Marriage Development Study, a unique national four year study tracking engaged couples as they transitioned into early marriage and family. She has spoken both nationally and internationally on marriage and relationship development. Her research has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and TV segments across the globe. She now consults on Adoption-Share research projects in Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida. She holds a BA in American Literature and Psychology from UCLA and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family therapy from Pepperdine University. Ms. Setrakian co-created the first iteration of the Family-Match Assessment, a innovative online tool for matching prospective families and children based on scientific research predicting successful long term placements and adoptions.

Gian Gonzaga

Dr. Gian Gonzaga, Senior Consultant of Research and Data Analytics

Dr. Gonzaga has over 20 years of experience in research and data science in academia and industry and is the co-founder and principal consultant with SGC. He is currently Director of Data Science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). Prior to joining CZI, Gian was the Chief Data Officer for Earnest where he led all aspects of data collection, storage, processing, and modeling. Gian has also served as the Director of Content Science and Algorithms at Netflix and before that was Head of Research at eHarmony where he was responsible for maintaining the compatibility matching algorithm and eHarmony Labs. He has published numerous peer review articles and had his work featured in national and international press He holds a BA in Psychology from Gettysburg College and a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Gonzaga co-created the first iteration of the Family-Match Assessment, an innovative online tool for matching prospective families and children based on scientific research predicting successful long term placements and adoptions.

Eliane Wheatley

Elaine Wheatley, Operations and Training Specialist

Elaine is Founder and CEO of Collective Consultants, a consulting services group providing strategic growth, project management, and finance and management services. Elaine began her career with Kaplan University transitioning the University from an on-site school to a fully accredited remote University and then moved on to the virtual English language startup world with Open English as their Vice President of Operations, Academics. With over 14 years of experience in both startup and mature business settings she now helps to provide opportunities for organizations of all types and sizes to accelerate growth, improve efficiency, and build organizational capabilities by assisting in the development of strategic approaches that lead to sustainable and progressive success.

Dr. Vincent W. Slaugh

Dr. Vincent W. Slaugh, Research Consultant

Vince Slaugh is an assistant professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA). He received his PhD in operations management from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and joined the SHA faculty in July 2016, after spending one year as a visiting faculty member in supply chain management at Penn State University's Smeal College of Business. Slaugh holds a BS and MS in industrial engineering and a BA in history from Penn State University. In his research, Slaugh studies analytical models designed to improve service operations, including online rental businesses, child adoption and foster care matching networks, and staffing for nursing homes. Methodologically, he develops stochastic inventory models traditionally associated with supply chain management and adapts them to new and innovative services. His collaborations include SmartOps, Symmco, the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption Network, Adoption-Share, Vincentian Collaborative System, and the Passavant Community. His work appears in Manufacturing and Service Operations Management and Interfaces.

Libby Sobkowiak

Elizabeth "Libby" Sobkowiak, Florida Family Coordinator

Libby is excited to be working at Adoption-Share Inc as Family-Match Coordinator for Florida. This is a role that brings her great joy. Libby's mother was inspirational to her by becoming a foster parent later in life, then adopting her two younger siblings through the foster care system. As the desire to adopt bloomed in Libby and her husband, they adopted Jax and Ava. To facilitate support and nurture relationships for both adoptees and adoptive parents, Libby administrates a local Adoption Family Network of over 300 families, Libby is a graduate of Southeastern University and worked previously at non-profit organizations serving youth and children in urban and suburban neighborhoods. She is passionate about building stable environments where children can thrive.

Niki Anderson

Niki Anderson, Quality Assurance and Testing Coordinator

Nichole Anderson has been in the Information Technology field for over 15 years with the last 5 in Cyber Security. She started her career in Virginia, worked in Georgia for a few years and now resides back in Virginia. She was born and raised in Newport, RI. and attended the University of Rhode Island. Her passion is spending time with the youth and helping them navigate this thing called life. While living in Georgia she took a break from the corporate world to work with teenage girls fulltime. Those 6 years with the Gathering Place were the most impactful in her life. She joined the team at Adoption Share in 2018 and has fallen in love with the mission. She brings her heart and skills to the team to help place every child with a forever family.

Whitney Zatzkin

Whitney Zatzkin, Virginia Director for Family-Match Program

Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin, MPA, MSR, is a passionate community architect obsessed with connecting the dots of community care to provoke change for the greater good. Whitney started in healthcare 18 years ago as the manager of a clinical practice, launching its EHR, redesigning the obstetrics patient record, and engaging in state-level advocacy efforts around maternal-infant health and malpractice reform. Moving to DC, she collaborated with policy leaders and advocates to conduct research and enact policy changes around health professions education and health workforce team design. In the past, she has served as the Managing Director of Flip the Clinic, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Co-PI for Scouting Health, an investigative horizon-hunting effort partnered with Westat. She also led the Great Challenges at TEDMED, producing more than 50 broadcasts on the toughest conversations in health care and expanding the online community to more than 300,000 people.

Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson, Virginia Database Administrator

Jay has over 20 years of experience in marketing communication and advertising for companies and organizations of all sizes. With a history in corporate America, working his way up from studio designer to Art Director, he discovered an internal need to branch out on his own. With support from a non-profit he was working with at the time and a size-able grant they won together, he began his own marketing and advertising firm Five Minute Productions in 2001. With an eye on growth and development, Jay brings his expertise and experience to the Family Match team in the hopes of improving and energizing the Family Match connection.

Selfless Love Foundation and Adoption-Share have built a strategic partnership to yield unprecedented results in helping children find forever families. Through SLF's investment of time, financial resources, and strategic leadership, Family-Match is now positioned to jumpstart the transformation of children’s lives across the country through the gift of family. Thanks to the generosity of Selfless Love Foundation, Adoption-Share is able to pilot the Family-Match application in Florida at no cost to the state and build a roadmap to impacting children and families across the country in the near future.

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