The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is thrilled to welcome four new members to the nonprofit organization’s staff team: Bryan Kerner, development director; Kayla Howard-Anderson, program director; Stephanie Forrester, bookkeeper and administrative assistant; and Melinda Bie, marketing and special projects coordinator.

Kerner joined TBCF in March, bringing with him years of leadership experience working with nonprofits in a variety of capacities, specializing in financial management, fundraising and event planning.

He is originally from Connecticut, where among his professional and volunteer roles he spent 10 years with the Simsbury’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as finance chair and as president of the Collinsville Arts Initiative, a fundraising event for art grants and youth mentoring programs.

Throughout his personal and professional life, Kerner has embodied a strong commitment to provide energy, enthusiasm and synergistic solutions in making a difference in the lives of youth and their families. In Santa Barbara, his involvement working with the Children’s Creative Project and the I Madonnari Festival helps provide youth with arts education programs through the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Howard-Anderson also joined TBCF in March as program director, following her return from serving two years with the Peace Corps in Panama as an environmental health volunteer. She lived among an indigenous tribe in the jungle, teaching health and sanitation, and helped organized the village to construct more than 50 new sanitation facilities.

Howard-Anderson holds a bachelor of science degree in human development and a minor in global studies from UC Davis. She has worked extensively with special-needs children in preschools through UC Davis, as well as for Camp Kasem, a nonprofit camp for families coping with cancer.

“I am thrilled to have such exceptional and experienced individuals join Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and dedicate their efforts to provide critical emotional and financial support services to families that have children with cancer,” Executive Director Lindsey Guerrero said. “The professional experiences that each of our new team members bring to the table will greatly strengthen our abilities to enhance the quality and reach of our services.”

Forrester takes on a dual role with TBCF as bookkeeper and administrative assistant, utilizing her extensive experience in financial management and office administration. In addition to her professional qualifications, she has volunteered with the Dream Foundation, Direct Relief International, X-LA Aide and worked hands on with CNN in collaboration with the United Kingdom and several other countries to bring Kosovo refugees to Santa Barbara for medical treatment.

Bie, a lifetime resident of the Santa Barbara area, is the most recent addition to TBCF. Her experience with nonprofits includes 14 years with the National Electrical Contractors Association and board member of the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria, coordinator of the Pierre Claeyssens Military Ball, in addition to her involvement with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 218, where her husband, Peter, serves as president.

The mission of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is to provide financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Each year the organization serves more than 650 individuals. To learn more about the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, click here or call 805.962.7466.