Meet the Board

Barbara Rhode, LMFT
Founder, Board President
Red Tent

Laurie Lakhani
Board Secretary
Red Tent

Laurie is semi-retired from the hotel business, in which she spent over 30 years supporting her husband and children at The Dolphin Beach Resort. She graduated from St. Petersburg College in 2018 after studying Human Services/Addiction Studies. As part of her studies, Laurie interned with The Red Tent Women’s Initiative for 3 months, learning first-hand how substance misuse can derail a woman’s life.  Laurie became interested in the Red Tent Women’s Initiative in 2012 after reading an article about Barbara Rhode in The St. Petersburg Times. At the time, Laurie was a Guardian Ad Litem for the state of Florida. During the 7 years of child advocacy work, she realized the majority of her cases involved mother’s with addiction issues, usually brought on by past traumas. Laurie enjoys working with the women in the jail and hopes to offer guidance, support and a positive example to them. As a person in long term recovery, Laurie tries to share her own experiences with the women and leads a weekly Women for Sobriety meeting open to all women with addiction issues.

Kim Vessa
Board Treasurer
VP/Food Technologist
Bottom Line Process Technologies, Inc.

Kim is a Food Technologist by education, and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Tennessee Technological University.  Kim started her career in Corporate New Products at The Sunmark Companies (now Nestle USA) working on a variety of chocolate and non-chocolate confections. She spent eight years with Perfetti Van Melle, the first three as Technical Services Manager and the last five as Vice President of Manufacturing and Development.  Kim is best known for her work in the formulation and plant start up of Van Melle’s popular brand, AirHeads.  Kim and her husband, John, founded Bottom Line Process Technologies, Inc., a niche process equipment fabrication business, over 25 years ago.  Primarily serving the confectionery and chocolate industries, their equipment can be found in the laboratories of Fortune 500 companies, as well as small private manufacturing businesses, in 40 countries around the world.  Kim enjoys serving as Treasurer of Red Tent, diving into numbers, developing budgets, and watching the organization grow and expand.

Elizabeth “Libby” G. Bourlon
CPA/Attorney at Law
Bourlon & Lucas Law, PLLC

Libby is a licensed Florida Attorney and Certified Public Accountant, and operates her practices in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She has been on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations in Pinellas County in past years, and continues to serve the community as a member of Red Tent’s board.

Sarah Bailie
Guardian Ad Litum

Sarah Bailie is an educator by training, but her career focus has been primarily centered around working to serve young children and young adult women. Her work has taken her to various areas in the United States as well as to both China and South Africa, where she served children and young adult women through programs that focused on educational and life skills training. Her passion is to find ways to educate through learning and skills that can ultimately assist these children and women in conquering the cycles of poverty. In the United States, she worked in the classroom for three years in addition to the overseas programs while she worked on furthering her education in counseling then shifting her focus to children in the foster care system in Florida. For the past several years, she has worked closely with foster children and their families desiring to assist in helping young women find stability to be able to reunify them with their children.

Currently, she serves as a Guardian Ad Litem for the State of Florida, sits on the board of several charities serving young women in crises. As a mother of two children, wife of an entrepreneur, an educator, and a counselor, she sees her role as fighting for children and women to emerge from the shackles of trauma and poverty to thrive in ways they could not imagine for themselves and their families.

Michele Gholson
Small Business Owner 
Just Add Moon

Michele is an entrepreneur and curates Just Add Moon, an online self-care wellness membership site focusing on using food and spirituality to create momentous changes in one’s life.  You can also find her hosting local dinners and events in the Tampa Bay area with her focus on gathering women together in sacred and supportive circles much like women used to do in ancient times.  Her passion is to share “a modern vision through ancient voices ” to optimize mind-body wellness.

Rev. Kimberley Harrell
First Unity of St. Petersburg

Rev. Kimberley is a spiritual leader, speaker and author. She is an ordained Interfaith Minister who has been a spiritual counselor, teacher and CEO at Tennessee’s New Thought/Metaphysical Healing Center, The New Earth Center.

Rev. Kimberley is a Professional Success Coach who has provided support and leadership to more than 10 Fortune 100 companies, Professional Athletes, Boys & Girls Club of America, the NBA and other Professional Sports Organizations. She is a successful Radio Host with an internationally acclaimed show, Be Happy and Be Healthy available for download on I Tunes.

Meg Hogan

Meg Hogan
HeartMath Certified Master Trainer 
Build Resilience

A 30-year business entrepreneur, building start-ups to multi-million dollar companies, Meg Hogan, is recognized for inspiring healthy and productive teams. With keen awareness of the bottom line, and a passion for people, Meg’s business leadership experience proves the health of a company is mirrored by the health of the workforce. Through experiential workshops and individual coaching, Meg teaches simple science-based resilience building techniques. These techniques can be practiced anytime, anywhere, to diminish toxicity of stress, empowering individuals and groups to thrive in environments of change, challenge and adversity. Founder of Build Resilience, Meg is a Certified HeartMath® Trainer, Certified HeartMath® Coach / Advisor, Certified HeartMath® Activating the Heart of Teams Facilitator, and Master Trainer for the HeartMath® Institute.

‘My passion is empowering people to live more joy-filled lives. Most of our stress revolves around our jobs, finances and family. I am thrilled to offer a means to counteract the physical, mental and emotional consequences of stress, and bring our best self to all aspects of our life.’

Joan Morgan
Former Chancellor
Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg

Attended Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA. Employed by Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Company in medical research offices.  1965, joined The Junior League of Fort Lauderdale, FL, committing to volunteerism, fundraising and the opportunity to work with motivating women.  Relocated to Tampa, FL in 1972 and transferred to J L Tampa. Became an active volunteer in Christ the King Church, including a leadership role in the woman’s’ guild, working in the parish office, and serving on boards for two senior affordable housing projects.  In 1991, employed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Petersburg as assistant in the diaconate office, then to the Vicar General and Diocesan Administrator.  Appointed Vice Chancellor; in 2005 appointed the first woman Chancellor of the Diocese. Recipient of the Pro Ecclesiasia et Pontifice, the highest lay award given by the pope.  Retiring in 2017 after 35 years of service under four bishops.

2019 invited to the Board of Directors of The Red Tent Initiative. 

Latifa Jackson
CEO of Hurst Consulting Group

CEO of Hurst Consulting Group (HCG), Latifa Jackson is a native of St. Petersburg, Florida who has over 25 years of dual experience working in the corporate financial services, and human resources industries. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management & Administration from Eckerd College, and a Master’s in Business Administration (Project Management concentration) from Saint Leo University in December of 2018.  With over two decades of direct industry related experience – primarily with Fortune 500 companies within the Tampa Bay area, such as Coca Cola Enterprises, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and Tech Data Corporation.  Jackson has directed that same passion towards serving her community and contributing towards carrying out The Red Tent’s empowering mission.

April Barron
Pinellas Technical College

April has been a teacher with Pinellas County Schools for the last thirty years.  She has taught both Elementary and Adult Education. She was a Magna Cum Laude graduate from St. Petersburg College and Suma Cum Laude graduate from The University Of South Florida, both in Education. She has spent the bulk of her career in Education, dating back to 1986, beginning her career as an Educational Specialist with Sebastian International, a Hair and Cosmetics Company out of Woodland Hills, CA.

As April expanded her career growth, she was chosen to be a Fulbright Scholar, earning a scholarship to study in Japan for a month. There she learned about their educational system, sharing and receiving information to use in her own classrooms and school wide programs. She was a S.T.A.R.S. teacher for seven of her thirteen years as an Elementary Teacher. The previously underperforming students under her care achieved to grade level, an accomplishment of which she is most proud.

April became the Minority Educators Fund, Teacher of The Year, marking confirmation that Education IS her calling. “My focus is helping women realize their gifts and talents. To utilize their own “critical thinking skills” and not be followers of false information.”

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