Bee Mighty Executive Board
The Bee Mighty Executive Board is comprised of a team of doctors, nurses, business men and women, philanthropists, social workers and fellow micropreemie parents who work together to provide for an underserved population of NICU graduates. Once a family has exhausted all other community, state and federal funding for a child’s development, Bee Mighty becomes active, allowing families a financial reprieve when no other option is available to them.
The Bee Mighty Advisory Council believes:
· Every child deserves access to resources that can dramatically improve his or her development.
· Each child has unique needs for medical therapy and equipment.
· Therapy and equipment costs should not limit a child’s treatment or development.
· In supporting traditional and non-traditional therapies.
· In good stewardship of funds allocated for therapy and equipment.
Meet Our Board
Candace Richter, Founder
Candace Richter was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. After receiving her degree in Communications and International Business from the College of Charleston, she moved to France, before returning to the U.S. to work for Bank of America. From Miami to LA, DC to Dallas and finally San Francisco, Candace worked in Treasury Management with BofA. After a few years, Candace moved back DC, this time to work in sales for the Discovery Channel. As fate would have it, the Discovery Channel relocated Candace back to her roots. It was in Charlotte she would meet her husband and welcome their first child, Nash. Fourteen months later, their second son, Shaw, was born.
Candace’s life was forever changed when Shaw was born 13 weeks prematurely. Weighing less than two pounds, the Richter family found themselves fighting for the life of their newborn, while balancing having a toddler at home. Shaw endured a stroke a birth, resulting in multiple brain surgeries, 22 spinal taps and hydrocephalous. He has a permanent device in his brain to drain the cerebral fluid into his abdomen. He was intubated countless times, resulting in scar tissue on his airway, leading to many hospitalizations and additional surgeries on his airway. After 122 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Richter family brought Shaw home.
Once home, Candace quickly learned the multitude of doctor appointments and therapies needed for their son to reach his potential, all of which were marginally covered by private insurance. The Richter family decided to create the Bee Mighty Foundation, named after their Mighty Shaw, to raise money for families with NICU graduates in need of therapy and medical equipment not covered by insurance. Their hope was to alleviate the financial pressure that accompanies unexpected medical expenses from having a preemie and directly impact the development of the child, giving them the best possible chance at their future.
Candace, along with her husband Michael and their children Nash and Shaw currently live in Denver, Colorado. Along with her involvement with Bee Mighty, she also works for the luxury, hospitality company, Inspirato. She maintains an active lifestyle and enjoys skiing, hiking, traveling and being with her boys.
Michael Richter, Founder
Michael and his wife Candace gave birth to their second son in February of 2008. Avery Shaw Richter was born at 27 weeks after Candace spent two weeks in the hospital. Shaw was 2 pounds 7 ounces and spent 122 days in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (“NICU”). Like a lot of families, Michael and Candace were not overly familiar with the NICU and that changed quickly.
Our family had quite a number of challenges while Shaw was in the NICU as we had a 1 year old at home. Once we were out of the NICU we realized that our journey was not over. Shaw had 2-4 therapies a week and we quickly learned that our insurance would not cover all of our appointments and we did not qualify for any other support. At that point, we realized that we had to make a choice for our son and we found out that there were other families out there like ours.
Under Candace’s leadership, Michael and Candace started BeeMighty, a non-profit focused on providing medical equipment and therapy to premature babies with ongoing medical challenges. Michael is proud that BeeMighty is able to support other families like ours. Mr. Richter holds a BSBA in Business Administration from Western Carolina University and attended the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Heather Hucks, Chair
Heather became a Bee Mighty board member in 2013 after bringing home her son Tucker, who was born at 24 weeks, from the NICU. She works for Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated as Sr Director of Brand Marketing. In addition to Bee Mighty, Heather is also a trustee of Speedway Children’s Charities and is involved with Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. Heather was born and raised in North Carolina where she lives with her husband, Darrin, and their kids, Tucker and Molly.
Joanna Kay, Executive Director
Joanna grew up in Hickory, North Carolina and received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Georgia. Prior to Bee Mighty, she worked in finance, consulting and banking for the past 10+ years. Joanna started her career as a Management Consultant for Accenture and then most recently worked for Bank of America. Throughout the years, she served on the young alumni board for UGA Terry College of Business, committee chair for Girls on the Run, mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, active volunteer for Novant Health Hemby NICU, as well as being an active member at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Joanna experienced the NICU first hand with her daughter Annie in late 2015 – she spent 8 weeks in the hospital between her bed rest and Annie’s own NICU stay. Her NICU experience and passion for helping NICU families led her to Bee Mighty. Joanna and her husband, Will, live in Charlotte with their daughter Annie and son Austin.
Cameron Uher, Finance Chair
Cameron Uher has served as the Finance Chair for Bee Mighty since inception in 2012 and is a founding Board Member. She has been integral from the beginning around financial analysis development, trend and budget planning, and most recently establishing financial controls as Bee Mighty has transitioned to its own 501c3 structure in 2018. Cameron has been with Wells Fargo Bank for over 19 years, currently working in the Commercial Banking group. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Queens University – McColl School of Business. She is originally from Wilmington, NC and currently lives in Charlotte with her husband Paul and two children, Julia and William. In addition to her significant involvement with Bee Mighty, she remains active with her church and school communities as a parent and committee volunteer.
Caroline Wilhelm, Grants Chair
Caroline Wilhelm has been involved with Bee Mighty for several years serving on the Grants Committee and is a new Advisory Board Member as of 2019. She has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years; and is currently with Wells Fargo working in The Private Bank. Caroline received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Finance from The University of South Carolina. She is originally from Clover, SC and now lives in Charlotte with her husband Corey and daughter, Lauren.
Melissa Jesse, Outreach Co-Chair
Melissa Jesse joined Bee Mighty in 2017 as a board member and co-chair of the Outreach Committee. Melissa Jesse is originally from New York and was raised in New York and Florida. She received her BSN and MSN from the University of Florida. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband, who is a neonatologist, and their two children. Melissa is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with Pediatric Housecalls. In addition to her work with Bee Mighty Melissa serves on the Children’s Ministry Council at her church and is active in her children’s school community.
Sara Linn, Gala Chair
Sara Linn is originally from Alpharetta, GA. She lives in Charlotte with her husband John and two daughters, Georgia Grace and Stella. She attended Appalachian State University and Gardner-Webb University Nursing School. Sara is an RN in the NICU at Novant Presbyterian Hospital, where she met Candace, Michael, and Shaw when they were in the NICU. Sara has been involved with Bee Mighty and the BS4BM gala since the beginning. The mission Candace has for Bee Mighty is such a passion of hers. “To be able to help the tiny babies I take care of thrive once they get home really helps bring what I do full circle,” she said.
Kristy Ward, Finance Committee
Kristy is originally from Wichita Falls, Texas. She earned a degree in International Economics with a minor in Spanish from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from Emory, Kristy spent a gap year in Buenos Aires, Argentina teaching English. Upon returning to the U.S., she began working at Bank of America with roles in both Charlotte and New York. In 2004, she accepted a position with Wachovia in Charlotte and is now a Director on the Latin American Loan Syndications team within the Financial Institutions Group at Wells Fargo. She is fluent in Spanish.
Kristy and her husband Jake have two children – Emerson and Jackson, both NICU graduates. Jake and Kristy’s experience with having both of their children in the NICU led them to get involved with Bee Mighty. Kristy has served on the Finance Committee since January 2018 and continues to be amazed at the resources Bee Mighty provides to NICU graduates in our community. “To have even a small part in fulfilling Bee Mighty’s mission truly is an honor.”
Majorie Bridges, Customer Relationship Management Chair
Marjorie grew up in Windsor, NC and received her undergraduate degree in Management and Society from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Accounting degree from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Marjorie began her career with KPMG, before transitioning to a role with SCOR Global Life. Marjorie has been with SCOR Global Life for over 13 years, driving improved productivity and performance within the Operations team. Marjorie was living in Raleigh, NC when Bee Mighty was started but being close to the Richters and their journey, Marjorie felt called to help in any way that was needed. While in Raleigh, she secured auction and raffle items for the Bee Something for Bee Mighty gala, and when she returned to Charlotte in 2014, she became even more involved with the Event Committee before joining the Advisory Board in 2017. Marjorie now serves as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Chair, establishing best practices, and maintaining security and integrity of the data. In addition to her extensive involvement with Bee Mighty, she is active with her church and school communities as a parent volunteer. Marjorie currently lives in Charlotte with her husband Ben, and two children, Garner and Wallace.
Reka Atwood, Outreach Co-Chair
Reka Atwood was born and raised in Hungary. She moved to Charlotte 8 years ago. She graduated from Budapest Business School as an International Communication major and finished her graduate studies in Human Resources Management at Corvinus University in Budapest. Reka is the mother of two children, Maddie and Zalan. She is currently working at Brighthouse Financial managing vendor relations in the talent acquisition department.
Reka’s husband, Jeff, and Candace’s husband, Michael, were fraternity brothers at Western Carolina. They followed the Richter’s journey with Shaw from the beginning and wanted to get involved right away. She started volunteering at events and joined the board in 2017.
Margaret joined Bee Mighty in 2019 as an Advisory Board Member and serves as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Co-Chair. She is originally from Battle Creek, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Informatics. Margaret moved to Charlotte, NC in 2012 to join Bank of America and currently works in Consumer Deposits Pricing and Fees. In addition to Bee Mighty, Margaret is active in her church community and volunteers at the Urban Ministry Center.