Staff

Rachel Sams

Consultant & Staff Writer

Rachel Sams honed her risk assessment skills as a business journalist, where she told complex stories and helped others do the same. Most recently, she served as editor-in-chief of a business journal in the Southwest. Her 20 years in business journalism give her a deep understanding of the economic risks organizations face. She’s an alumna of The Johns Hopkins University and the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she bikes, hikes, practices yoga and writes fiction and poetry. Her risk tolerance increased in 2021 on a solo hike, when she spotted her first Western diamondback rattlesnake.

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Whitney Thomey

Lead Consultant & Risk Ethnologist

As NRMC’s Lead Consultant & Risk Ethnologist, Whitney is eager to provide her expertise in writing and content development to support the risk management aspirations of NRMC’s consulting clients and Affiliate Members. Whitney looks forward to learning about the myriad risk challenges facing the mission-driven nonprofits that we support and working with her colleagues at NRMC to develop practical, innovative strategies and solutions.

Whitney earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her perpetual fascination with culture and enculturation has proved to be an invaluable resource in her career. Whitney’s diverse professional experience has included project management duties in local government, legal services, web & content development, human resources, and bicycle mechanics and tour operations.

Whitney is an avid cyclist, always finding pure joy in a risky descent down the other side of an epic climb. She enjoys biking the back roads of Virginia but truly fell in love with cycling on a trip to the Italian countryside. She firmly believes that there’s no better way to experience a country than on two wheels.

Balancing risk and caution, Whitney is also a skilled sewist and garment maker. She knows just how thin the line can be between success and disaster when wielding tailor’s shears against high-priced fabric, operating needles and blades at high speeds, and pressing irons at hot temperatures. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” is all too familiar.

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Melanie Lockwood Herman

Executive Director

In a world that is fraught with danger, it is comforting to know that Melanie Lockwood Herman is holding on tight to the handlebars of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. NRMC provides consulting services, innovative web applications, and practical educational resources that help nonprofit management and leadership teams take the bold risks necessary to advance their missions.

A prolific author of more than a dozen comprehensive (and comprehensible!) books and resource guides on various risk management topics, Melanie has delivered countless workshops, seminars, and keynote presentations for organizations simply unwilling to leave success to chance. Melanie earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Affairs from American University (Washington, DC) and a Juris Doctor from George Mason University (Arlington, VA). She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association.

In August 2022, Melanie was named to The NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50, whose editor has described her as “…the most in-demand expert in the nonprofit risk field…” and “the architect of the risk plans of some of the nation’s largest nonprofits.” This is Melanie’s 14th appearance on the list: she was recognized in 2007-2008 and 2011-2021.

In addition to her professional career, Melanie is an active volunteer in both professional organizations and community-serving nonprofits. She currently serves on the boards of three national organizations: the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Human Services Assembly, and Camp Fire. Melanie is the former chair of the Legal Section Council of ASAE/The Center for Association Leadership, and during 2010-2013 she served on the Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee (NAC) of the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

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Kay Nakamura

Director of Client Solutions

As Director of Client Solutions, Kay is our go-to staff member for the array of products and services offered at NRMC. Finding solutions makes her day. With a career in customer support, Kay can help your nonprofit find fit-to-suit tools and resources that will help you recognize, evaluate and manage the risks your nonprofit faces. Kay also serves as a Project Manager supporting consulting engagements for complex NRMC client organizations.

Kay earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a Finance Concentration, from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana) and a Master’s of Business Administration, with a Marketing Concentration, from the University of New Mexico. She has directed consumer projects across several industries and understands operational as well as program risks. Volunteering has been a big part of Kay’s life as well. She has chaired nonprofit fund raisers, fêtes, and galas, and has been an enthusiastic volunteer at nonprofits in the U.S. and overseas.

A fan of both fine cuisine and travel, Kay maps her next journey based on local specialties. One of her favorite delights is sampling spicy foods, particularly from Asia and the Southwestern United States. She has bravely tried many unusual dishes over the years, and always has a glass of milk nearby! She recognizes that the reward of tasty, spicy food comes with a bit of risk. Her personal mantra is, “Make sure you have a backup plan!”

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NRMC Associates

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Ann Sheets

Senior Consultant

Ann Sheets has spent more than forty years in nonprofit management, in roles ranging from camp director to chief financial officer to president/CEO of Camp Fire First Texas. During her tenure, she gained experience dealing with both usual and unusual risk events that come with working in youth development, camp, and early education programs.

In addition to her professional work with Camp Fire, Ann was the national president of the American Camp Association (ACA) for three years, serving on the ACA National Board of Directors and on the board of the American Camping Foundation. She has been recognized by ACA with the Distinguished Service Award and was named as a distinguished alum by George Williams College.

A frequent presenter at conferences on fundraising, board development, and nonprofit management, Ann is the co-author of The Business of Camp and served as the editor for the 9th edition of Basic Camp Management, both published by Healthy Learning for ACA.

Ann earned an undergraduate degree in music education from Texas A&M – Commerce and a graduate degree in camping administration from George Williams College of Aurora University, where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees.

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Board of Directors

President

Patricia Vaughan

Population Council New York, New York

Treasurer

Mary Ann Riesenberg

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Secretary

Kitty Holt

Broadcat Warwick, RI

Joseph Budzynski

Volunteers of America Alexandria, VA

John M. Connelly, III

ConnellyOutdoors Consulting Melbourne Beach, FL

Paul Doman

Nationwide Itasca, IL

David Kyllo

Kyllo Consulting Plymouth, MN

Donna McPartland

McPartland Privacy Advising LLC

Lisa Prinz

King of Prussia, PA

Michael Schraer

Chubb Whitehouse Station, NJ

Tara Thomas

Teach For America Chicago, IL

Corporate Partners

Platinum Sponsor

Great American Insurance Group

Read the press release announcing Great American Insurance Group’s Platinum Sponsorship.

In 1980, Great American Insurance established a special division to serve
 for Non-Profit Organizations. Today that division, Specialty Human Services, consists of dedicated Claims, Loss Prevention, and Underwriting Specialists working hand-in-hand with independent insurance agents serving close to 16,000 organizations across the country. Our products and services provide nonprofit organizations with the best possible solutions for their insurance and risk management needs. We protect those who improve our communities.

CONTACT:

Kevin N. Duke, Divisional Senior Vice President
513.333.2219 (office) | knduke@gaig.com


Corporate Sustainers