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.

Their family had quite a number of challenges while Shaw was in the NICU as they had a 1 year old at home. Once they were out of the NICU they realized that our journey was not over. Shaw had 2-4 therapies a week. They quickly learned that insurance would not cover all of our appointments, and they did not qualify for any other support. At that point, they realized that they had to make a choice for their son and they 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.

 

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.

 

 

Lindsey Deborde
Lindsey grew up in Macon, Georgia, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Lindsey worked at Novant Health for over 10 years in the Patient Relations/Guest Services department where she implemented numerous guest services initiatives and helped patients and families navigate the healthcare system. After attending the gala for a couple of years, she was honored to join the gala committee as a sponsorship co-chair in 2019. Lindsey joined the board in 2020 and is serving as the 2020 Gala co-chair. She lives in Charlotte with her husband, Danny, and their 2 sons, Ayden and Bradley. Lindsey enjoys volunteering for various school and community activities and traveling.

 

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.”

 

Margaret Dechant,  Customer Relationship Management Co-Chair

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.

 

Kristen Picard
Kristen grew up in Lake Wylie and has been friends with Candace since childhood.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Marketing and Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from the University of South Carolina.  Kristen has over 20 years of experience in marketing, brand strategy and licensing across several industries including consumer packaged goods (CPG), publishing/content, retail/wholesale and media.  Kristen spent over 15 years living in Boston, MA where she led Reebok’s women’s strategic business unit, but moved back to Charlotte in 2013 and has been involved in the Gala Committee for Bee Mighty for several years.  Kristen is currently the Director of Marketing, Americas for Honeywell and is based in Charlotte with her husband Jeremy and daughters Avery (11) and Ellie (8).

 

Lindsay Gildea
Lindsay was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She received her Marketing degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and then went on to receive her MBA from Wake Forest University. Lindsay worked for TIAA as an Internal Investigator before staying home with her 3 children. She was introduced to Bee Mighty by her mother in law, Anne Gildea, and has been an active supporter since its inception. She joined the Gala committee in 2019 as a sponsorship co-chair and now serves as the Gala Co-Chair. Lindsay has served on various boards in the Charlotte community including the Salvation Army, was an active member in JLC, Women’s Impact Fund and Robinson’s Center for Civic Leadership. She currently volunteers at her church (Myers Park UMC) on the Children’s Ministry team after previously serving on the Grants Committee, and is actively involved in her kids schools. In her free time she loves spending time with her husband Patrick and their 3 children (John Patrick, Addison, and Caroline), traveling, running, volunteering in the community, and being with friends.