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Our Team

Our team is made up of people that are FOR Students and want to see them thrive. Whether on our board or in our schools, we are all determined to do whatever is necessary to help better prepare teens for their transition to what is next.

Founders

WHITNEY D’ALLAIRD

Executive Director

Hi, I am Whitney D’Allaird and in December of 2017, I lost my oldest son Tyler to suicide – 15 weeks into his freshmen year of college. I do not want other parents to experience the pain I currently feel.  

Unfortunately, I never had many of the conversations with Tyler that I now know – we MUST be having with our children. THIS – is why I founded FOR Students.

We are here to teach and talk with students about what matters most to them, what they are experiencing in their lives and give them tools to help themselves and their peers.

ED WIlliams

Programming Director

Ed has spent his adult life working with young people and their families. A degree in education, a teacher for 12 years, a student pastor for 8 years, a trained life coach, and a dad of 2 teenage girls. Ed has spent the last 21 years of his life helping teens and parents thrive. It’s simply in his DNA.

In the fall of 2021 Ed was planning to return to teaching, but was invited by Whitney to come and help create the teams and programs that now make up FOR Students. He is more excited than ever about the impact these programs are having and their potential to help so many students in the future.

Hear from our founders

WHITNEY D’ALLAIRD

Hi, I am Whitney D’Allaird and in December of 2017, I lost my oldest son Tyler to suicide – 15 weeks into his freshmen year of college. I do not want other parents to experience the pain I currently feel.  

Unfortunately, I never had many of the conversations with Tyler that I now know – we MUST be having with our children. THIS – is why I founded FOR Students.

We are here to teach and talk with students about what matters most to them, what they are experiencing in their lives and give them tools to help themselves and their peers.

ED WIlliams

Programming Director
Contact: Ed@forstudents.org

Ed has spent his adult life working with young people and their families. A degree in education, a teacher for 12 years, a student pastor for 8 years, a trained life coach, and a dad of 2 teenage girls. Ed has spent the last 21 years of his life helping teens and parents thrive. It’s simply in his DNA.

Board

derrick shirley

CHAIR | Head of Human Resources, Maersk North America at A.P. Moller-Maersk, 32 years | Officer US Navy Reserve, June 1987–June 1995

I foster growth in others by connecting people, resources and opportunities. In my 20+ years as a business leader, HR leader and non-profit leader I have been part of many successes (and a few failures). What always stands out for me is the journey of people and teams getting behind a goal and achieving it. Nothing gives me more fulfillment than watching my contributions lead to the success of others… and of course having a little fun on the way!

Danielle stoner

SECRETARY | Owner/Operator at The Red Radish, 9 years

Danielle is the owner of Red Radish Upstate, a catering company specializing in corporate lunch delivery services.  She is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a certified ICF leadership coach.  Danielle has dedicated the last 2 decades to developing leaders and helping individuals achieve success and fulfillment in their lives and at work.

kevin d’allaird

TREASURER | Varda Partners, 9 years

Kevin co-founded Varda Partners with long-time friend and colleague Joe Peterson in late 2013. Prior to founding Varda Partners, Kevin was a Senior Vice President at Red Ventures where he was instrumental in the early development, leadership and rapid growth of the company’s paid and natural search marketing channels.

Kevin graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering. He has been a Charlotte, North Carolina, area resident for over 25 years with his wife Whitney and their three boys.

advisory Board

patrick balsley

Sana Counseling

Patrick is a North Carolina Addiction Specialist Professional Practice Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.  He has been working with families affected by substance use for a decade. Patrick is a member of the clinical team at Herren Project, a national non-profit organization founded by former NBA basketball player Chris Herren and serves as a Wellness Coach and Structured Family Recovery®️ Counselor at T.R.U.S.T, a comprehensive case management company in New York, NY. In the Charlotte community, Patrick currently serves on the Behavioral Health Committee at Atrium Health Foundation and the Board of Directors at Emerald School of Excellence, the Carolina’s first Recovery High School. Patrick is also co-host of Champagne Problems, a podcast that takes a hard look at the normalization of alcohol in our culture.

AMY WORK

LCMHC, RPT Renewed Counseling and Play Therapy

Amy R. Work is the founder and owner of Renewed Counseling & Play Therapy in Charlotte, NC, where she treats children, adolescents, and adults facing a variety of issues including mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, behavioral issues, and parenting concerns. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), Qualified Supervisor (QS), and Registered Play Therapist (RPT). Amy is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at UNC Charlotte. As a former public high school teacher, Amy chose to become a counselor after witnessing many of her students struggle with mental health. She continues to support high schoolers as an Advisory Board member of FOR Students.

Outside of the counseling world, you can find Amy reading with a cup of coffee or tea, trying new recipes in her kitchen, on a run with a friend, or spending time with her husband and son.

jennifer fights

LCMHC, NCC BASE Cognitive Behavioral

Jennifer Fights is an EMDR psychotherapist working with adolescents, adults and families in private practice in Charlotte, NC. She is an EMDRIA Certified therapist and is a Consultant-In-Training. Jennifer received her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from New York University in 2002, and has been a practicing clinician for over 20 years. 

Jennifer’s early career focused on working with complex developmental trauma with youth and their families within the juvenile justice system, residential treatment centers and community mental health centers. Since transitioning to private practice in 2015, Jennifer’s areas of focus continue to include complex attachment trauma as well as treating complicated grief and bereavement and specializes in the trauma of suicide loss by families, loved ones and communities. She also treats individuals that struggle with suicidal thoughts and behaviors which gives her a unique perspective in working with the survivors of suicide loss.

As a lifelong learner, Jennifer regularly attends advanced EMDR trainings and has completed trainings in the R-TEP-G-TEP, and the IATP-C protocols for recent traumatic events. Jennifer is also a fully trained Level III DBT therapist.

amanda mcgough

PhD BASE Cognitive Behavioral

Dr. McGough is a licensed psychologist with BASE Cognitive Behavioral in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in working with teens and young adults around concerns including grief, depression, anxiety and life transitions. Dr. McGough also serves as the President of the NC Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She consults and speaks on suicide prevention and suicide brereavement on both a local and national level.

amanda cumbo

LCMHC Rogers Christian Counseling

Amanda earned her MA in Christian Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary here in Charlotte, NC, and has a BS in Biology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

staff

kellie shope

EVENT DIRECTOR

Kellie found her passion for working with students a decade ago. She has realized that in some way, shape or form, she will be spending the rest of her life helping the next generation navigate the growing pains, the transitions, the decisions, and the many ups and downs of life. She believes we have a great responsibility to walk alongside young adults and equip them for life and all that comes with entering adulthood. 
 
Kellie spends her time at For Students creating fun environments and meaningful content for students to talk about, learn from, and feel prepared for what is NEXT. She is just as creative outside of work and spends her free time creating special memories with her 2 boys, husband of years and friends. 

CHRIS LEE

MEDIA DIRECTOR

Chris has always had a passion for working with students and believes in the power of storytelling to help them develop essential life skills and grow into resilient adults. He believes in the importance of creating engaging and relatable content that can capture the imagination of young minds and inspire them to reach their full potential. Weaving together meaningful stories that resonate with students through dedication, creativity, and empathy is what he creates at For Students and those stories have the power to impact the lives of the next generation.
 
Outside of For Students you will find Chris playing the electric guitar, constantly quoting movies and song lyrics or adventuring with his son and daughter. 

JANE TUNE

DIRECTOR OF CONNECTIONS

Jane has a talented way of bringing people together and finding meaningful ways for us to connect with one another.  She is passionate about sharing what we are doing at For Students with individuals and other organizations in the community. She desires for students all over the city to have the opportunity to engage in authentic conversations and better understand themselves.  
Jane is a few short years from an empty nest in her own home and understands the importance of teaching high school students helpful tools to foster healthy relationships and fulfilling lives. Her three daughters and husband of ?? years are lucky to have her. 

HENRY DAVIS

DIRECTOR OF ENGAGEMENT

Henry’s passion for working with students stems from his own mental health journey. After battling depression in college – he traveled around the world in search of meaning. Along the way he created a documentary film exploring love, immersed himself in new cultures, and trained as a yoga & meditation teacher. 
 
Since returning, he’s dedicated himself to working with young people to uplift mental health. After guiding our “stress management” event for the last several years, Henry is excited & grateful to get more involved with FOR Students this year. 

LARA ROUSE

LOGISTICS DIRECTOR

Lara has been involved in non profit organizations for the past 15 years and holds a supportive role on the For Students team. She has a passion for not only seeing students thrive but also the other staff she works alongside.  Lara is sending her own child to Butler University this fall and is able to empathize with the challenges that high school seniors face as they prepare for college. She is  a Charlotte native, who is married to her highschool sweetheart, and a mom to three lovely humans.