Board of Directors
Reality Kitchen Nonprofit Board of Directors
It is important to note that the Reality Kitchen Nonprofit Board of Directors are drawn from the community based on the diverse skill sets that are needed to guide our unique organization. A deep knowledge of finance, business and nonprofit governance, food service management and, of course, the perspectives and practical experiences gained from classroom and life skills training in the field of Special Education.
100% of the Board of Directors each contributes financially, as well as through their commitment of time and vision, expertise and skills, goods, items and in kind services to the organization.
The co-founders, Jim Evangelista and Catherine Pickup, made a significant investment in the startup of Reality Kitchen Nonprofit. Both volunteer their work and 100% of their time on behalf of the nonprofit organization and each serves as Executive Director and Program Director respectively. This evidences their commitment to the Mission and goals for success of the each individual Supported Staff member and community inclusive spirit of this organization.
Lynn is an experienced senior manager with a track record of building highly effective cross-functional teams across organizational and geographic boundaries. He brings proven experience in helping his teams set and achieve measurable goals in large, complex organizations. He also brings deep financial management, planning and accounting experience in a number of demanding settings including public accounting, high tech research and development, new business start-up and university fund accounting. He has significant experience in working with diverse cultures having managed staff and worked on teams for Hewlett Packard from Singapore, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Spain, Israel and across the Americas.
Lynn is currently a self-employed non-profit consultant for various nonprofits across Oregon. In the non-profit arena, Lynn currently serves as the Treasurer for Jackson Street Youth Services Inc., Chair of the Location and Building Committee for the Crater Lake District of the United Methodist Church, Board Secretary and grant writer The Eugene Gleemen and Business Manager for Messy Church USA.
Leonard is a regulatory consultant and president of FDA Connect, inc., and independent consulting company which assists small pharmaceutical manufacturers and marketers of OTC medications, homeopathic remedies, dietary supplements and cosmetics to comply with US Food and Drug Administration regulations.
In the non-profit world, he has served on numerous boards over the last 30 years in various capacities. His areas of interest are education, the arts, promotion of community mental health, conflict resolution, sustainability, and human development. His focus has been on non-profit corporate governance, financial oversight, and fundraising.
In the realm of fundraising, in 2007 he organized a successful event in Eugene on behalf of the Oregon Ballet Foundation to break the Guinness World Record for largest indoor ballet class. On behalf of the Eugene Rotary club, he was a co-creator and designer of the Inspirational Invocation book to raise funds for the organization’s community programs. The book was subsequently adopted by the national Rotary organization.
Leonard was enthusiastic and honored to have been invited to join the board of Reality Kitchen. He had been following the progress of the organization over the years through his long-time friendship with its founder, Jim Evangelista. According to Leonard, “Reality Kitchen is a vital resource not only for our community; but it also has the potential of becoming a model for the entire country. Its practical approach and hands-on curriculum is an excellent way to provide real-world work-skills and life-skills to the developmentally disabled community. I have seen with my own eyes the joy and dignity in its students when they have the ability to express themselves through the pride of work.”
Leonard is an avid vegetable gardener, loves to dance and ski, and can often be found on weekends at the top of Spencer Butte.
Kerry O’Connor Board Secretary
Before moving to Eugene in the Fall of 2018 to pursue a Master of Nonprofit Management (MNM) and concurrent Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the University of Oregon, Kerry earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology at Gannon University in Erie, PA. While earning her BS Kerry worked part-time as a direct support professional (DSP) in the Supportive Living Department at the Gertrude Barber Center, one of Erie’s largest nonprofit organizations. During this work, she gained a full understanding of the unique circumstances those with disabilities face and the barriers created by our society that they are forced to overcome. After recognizing the widespread need to improve and increase the creation of equal opportunities for everyone, of every ability, to reach their fullest potential, Kerry decided to pursue graduate school to further her ability to influence large scale positive change in the disability rights movement.
Throughout her graduate school career, Kerry has been fortunate to work with a wide variety of local nonprofit organizations. Currently, she is involved in projects with FOOD for Lane County, the Homes for Good Foundation, HIV Alliance, Diabetes Community Care Team, and the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene.
“Upon hearing Jim and Catherine’s journey and the mission of Reality Kitchen, I instantly knew I needed to be involved in some way. Their enthusiasm and dedication to changing the lives of every individual who crosses Reality Kitchen’s path is genuinely inspiring. They truly have created a family at Reality Kitchen, which I am extraordinarily honored and grateful to be apart of.”