Our Executive Management Team
More than 150 dedicated staff ensure that IMPOWER continues to provide the highest level of service to the individuals and families we serve, as well as provide our partners with the resources necessary for them to support our programs and services.
Our Executive Management Staff includes:
Anna M. Kesic, President/CEO
Mrs. Kesic has over 30 years of experience leading, managing and working within a wide range of social service and behavioral health programs for large, multi-program, non-profit and public sector entities delivering bottom-line results, efficient systems and strong community relations. During her time with IMPOWER, she has ensured the financial stability of the agency during tumultuous economic times; enhanced visibility and involvement in the Central Florida community and the state; improved quality assurance programs; and greatly expanded funding sources and relationships.
Mrs. Kesic has her BA in psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies from Eckerd College. She obtained a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.
Isabel Velasquez, Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Velasquez has over 20 years’ experience in financial and quality management of non-profit organizations with extensive knowledge of child welfare, residential, behavioral health, developmental disabilities and grant programs. She is responsible for all aspects of financial management of IMPOWER including finance, accounting, accounts receivable/payable, purchasing, information technology and facility management. She has an extensive knowledge base of clinical services and tasks to include residential, outpatient, and therapeutic programs which enables her to bond the gap between finance and operations.
Mrs. Velasquez holds an MBA from University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from University of Central Florida. Ms. Velasquez’s financial auditing knowledge has helped IMPOWER, Inc. mitigate financial risks to the agency and stabilize financial diversity for continued agency growth.
Marcie Dearth, Vice President External Relations
Mrs. Dearth is a communications and development specialist with more than 20 years’ of leadership experience in marketing, fundraising and child advocacy. For over two decades she has worked in the nonprofit and government sectors focused on helping children and families. She began her career at the State Attorney’s Office – 9th Judicial Circuit working with child victims of abuse and helping at-risk children as a Guardian ad Litem. Her passion to help those in need led her into fundraising and program development. Throughout her career, she has routinely increased philanthropic support and brand recognition for the organizations she represented, including a more than 200% increase in at IMPOWER in the past 36 months. Mrs. Dearth is responsible for strategic vision and leadership of IMPOWER’s fundraising, grants, marketing and brand management, and public relations efforts. She is also experienced in youth programming and oversees The Village, IMPOWER’s Transitional Housing Program.
Mrs. Dearth has a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida.
Amy-Erin Blakely, Vice President, Behavioral Health Operations
Ms. Blakely has over 25 years of experience in psychiatric, mental health, substance misuse and developmental disabilities services. She has vast experience in operations and business start up and has managed budgets in excess of $75 million with 900 employees, including the oversight of a 130-bed psychiatric hospital and a 70-bed Adolescent Substance Misuse Residential Treatment Program. She is recognized for her leadership and keen business skills and specializes in turning around poorly performing businesses and building stronger business to ensure sustainability of organizations.
Ms. Blakely is an expert in telehealth systems and has researched and participated in telehealth program design at a national level. She has built an innovative national model in the delivery of behavioral health services via telehealth. She has BA in Psychology from Stetson University and a Master’s in Business Administration of Health Care Management from The University of Phoenix.
Onchantho Am, Vice President of Quality and Chief Legal Officer
Ms. Am has over a decade of experience in the child welfare system, both through her personal experience and professionally. As the child of Cambodian refugees, she overcame many challenges and ultimately “aged out” of foster care to become the first in her family to attend college. Mrs. Am has worked alongside a cross-sector of professionals on state-wide policy initiatives which impacted the lives of several hundred children in the foster care system and young adults “aging out”. She also dedicated several years at Connected by 25 Initiatives in Hillsborough County, a not-for-profit organization, which provided financial, legal and education assistance to those in the foster care system.
Ms. Am holds a B.A. in Sociology from The University of Florida and received her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law where she earned the prestigious Victor O. Wehle Trial Advocacy Award and the Thomas E. Penick Jr. Award for Community Service. She has been recognized by her peers for her work in the community as a recipient of the Orange County Bar Association 2015 Young Lawyer Pro Bono Award of Excellence, Pro Bono Service Award for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, the 2017 New Lawyer Award of Excellence and the Class IV Fellow of the Wm. Reece Smith Florida Bar Leadership Academy. Ms. Am was recently appointed to serve on the Florida Bar Special Committee on Child and Parent Representation.
Carla Butts, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director of Human Resources
Ms. Butts joined IMPOWER in 2018 and has been a Human Resources professional for more than 20 years providing strategic counsel and workforce development advice to senior executives in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors in manufacturing, retail and healthcare industries. Ms. Butts is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). She has volunteered as an Instructor with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and on the Board of Directors for Career Source Citrus, Levy and Marion Counties. Ms. Butts attended American Military University, served honorably as a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy and is an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran.
Ernest Jones, Director of Child Well-Being
Mr. Jones has more than 12 years experience in child welfare. He has worked for the Department of Children and Families, where he started his career as a Child Protection Investigator (CPI) and ended as a Program Administrator. He has worked closely with Community Based Care organizations, DCF and Case Management agencies on various projects pertaining to the safety of children and families. He has extensive knowledge and background in child abuse investigations, trauma informed care and safety methodology.
Mr. Jones has a Bachelors Degree in Criminology from Florida State University.
Jessica Hixon, Director of Prevention
Mrs. Hixon has more than 8 years experience working in the field of social services, managing and delivering services to those with mental health diagnoses and those at risk of mental health diagnoses. Her hands-on work experience in the field has helped to develop an authentic and strategic approach in her current role. Her contributions, ability to develop relationships, design effective outreach efforts and deliver results driven programming have led to more than doubling the number of children served in our school based prevention program. Mrs. Hixon is passionate about the delivery of organic and quality services, thus ensuring her teams have hands-on training and continued growth opportunities. Her distinct problem solving skills and attention to detail are two attributes that have led to her operational success.
Ms. Hixon has a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from American Intercontinental University.