100 People to Meet in 2022: Angels
Saving lives, feeding the hungry or helping those most in need, these Virginians make the commonwealth a better place through their passion, dedication
Dr. Sandy Chung
CEO, Trusted Doctors; IT Medical Director, Pediatric Health Network; 2022 president-elect, American Academy of Pediatrics
Multitasker extraordinaire Dr. Sandy Chung is driven by her desire to improve children’s access to care, including mental health care. After one of her teenage patients with bipolar disorder shot and killed a man during a monthlong wait to see a psychiatrist for a prescription refill, she worked to establish the state-funded Virginia Mental Health Access Progam. It trains primary care providers to better manage psychiatric conditions, offering phone consultations with psychiatrists and helping families find mental health care. Now the 2022 president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Chung wants to focus her term on continuing to improve access to care by optimizing health data and helping health care workers avoid burnout.
Senior health educator,
Richmond Health Department
Shanteny Jackson works at the Richmond Health Department’s resource centers, clinics embedded within neighborhoods, which makes them more accessible for residents without reliable transportation. “It’s very important to reach [clients] where they are,” she says, guidance that also applies to her role as a dual Spanish- and English-speaking public health employee. Her skills were key in improving Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination rates among Latinx residents, a population that was more likely to contract the virus due to crowded working and living conditions. This summer, then-National Public Radio host Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed Jackson about the state’s success, which she attributed in part to those established resource centers. “We have to care and know about our communities,” she told Garcia-Navarro.
CEO, Survivor Ventures and Chelsea Consulting Group
Tiffany McGee was a Department of Defense intelligence analyst and served on anti-trafficking task forces in embassies throughout Africa and Europe. Now, she helps survivors of domestic human trafficking. McGee started her nonprofit in 2018 to help survivors of human trafficking get past barriers to success, such as finding jobs and affordable housing. Survivors to Entrepreneurs, a program within her Survivor Ventures nonprofit, connects survivors with jobs at startups in Hampton Roads. Survivors to Entrepreneurs pays 100% of a trafficking survivor’s salary for the first three months, then 50% and so on, until the business can take on the pay. The nonprofit has a similar model for offering rental assistance and helping survivors build up their credit. Survivor Ventures landed a federal grant to expand, and she plans to expand the program throughout the mid-Atlantic region starting in 2022. McGee also helped establish the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force.
CEO, Arlington Food Assistance Center
With a law degree from Georgetown University, Charles Meng has tackled a little bit of everything over the course of his career — working as an administrator at Georgetown and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and as executive director of human resources at American University. Meng even designed and sold ornate gravestones. About 13 years ago, he noticed the Arlington Food Assistance Center was seeking a director of operations. The center “was very screwed up at the time,” he says bluntly, “but it had a lot of potential.” Then, the AFAC had assets of about $1 million. Today, the organization’s assets total about $10 million, allowing it to provide 2,100 needy area families with groceries each week.
President and CEO, Loudoun Hunger Relief
In the nation’s wealthiest county as determined by median income, Jennifer Montgomery saw Loudoun Hunger Relief’s food recipients quadruple at the pandemic’s height. “We went from serving … 250 families a week to a height of 1,000 families a week for a while there,” recalls Montgomery, who was promoted as the nonprofit’s CEO in February after serving as executive director since 2014. Today, the food pantry serves about 600 families a week. Montgomery, who also chairs the Loudoun Human Services Network board and co-chairs its strategic plan committee, has long been focused on aiding people in need. The pandemic has been the most challenging time of her career, but also the most rewarding, she says, “because of the unbelievable support that the community has given here in Loudoun.”
Youth and employment program coordinator, Church World Service Harrisonburg
After returning from studying dance in India, Rebecca Sprague volunteered as an English teacher in New York about
20 years ago before being hired at an adult education public school. That started her on the path to her current work as she saw the need for career development training, particularly for women and young adults. Church World Service Harrisonburg helps refugees settle in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley, assisting newcomers — currently mainly composed of recent Afghan refugees — with finding housing, enrolling children in schools, applying for Social Security cards and locating employment, in addition to providing cultural orientation training, adult education and other services. Demonstrating the scope of the agency’s work, Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ students speak more than 60 languages altogether.
President and CEO,
United Methodist Family Services
Nancy Toscano knew early on that she’d dedicate her life to service. “Probably since birth, I was built to be a helper,” she says. In April, Toscano became president and CEO of United Methodist Family Services, a 121-year-old statewide nonprofit that serves at-risk children and their families. A licensed clinical social worker, Toscano has worked for the organization since 2007. Currently, she is leading UMFS’s $8 million fundraising campaign to construct a new residential treatment building and make improvements to the organization’s school and campus. While she doesn’t work as closely with clients as she did earlier in her social work career, Toscano likes the challenge of tackling big-picture problems. “I do feel like I can make a bigger impact.”
President, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center
As a preteen, Joe Wilkins found inspiration in the physical therapists who helped his father recover from a car wreck. “My goal was to help people walk,” he says. After working as a physical therapist, Wilkins transitioned into health care administration. A year ago, Wilkins became president of Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, after a little more than three years as the chief executive at LifePoint Health in Wytheville. The pandemic has been a challenging time for health care workers, with many burning out and leaving hospitals for other jobs. And Wilkins, a member of Lead Virginia’s class of 2021, has pitched in as needed to fill gaps, still working occasionally as a physical therapist. “Health care is about being selfless,” he says. “It’s about taking care of the patients and those who are in front of us.”
Angela F. Williams
President and CEO, United Way Worldwide
Angela Williams joined United Way Worldwide in October, becoming the 130-year-old global nonprofit’s first woman and first Black leader. The organization is at a crossroads — a 2021 investigation found that United Way Worldwide should review its procedures after it received claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. Williams, the former CEO of Easterseals and a former member of the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, says the United Way’s board is “engaged in cultural transformation. That work has started, and I’m stepping into that.” A University of Virginia and Virginia Union University graduate who is also an ordained minister, Williams is happy to be back in the commonwealth and enjoys reading, mentoring young women and solving jigsaw puzzles.