In 2010 Kim Winston Bigler started what would eventually become James Samaritan out of the trunk of her car in California. Over the last 5 years (after moving back to Louisiana), she has built an organization which has an incredible impact on the Louisiana foster care community. She has grown James Samaritan by building relationships with the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), local churches and an army of community volunteers. Her contributions to the foster care system have received statewide recognition. She has been recognized for her impact on changing how we care for our most vulnerable. Kim has been recognized by many of the top organizations in Louisiana for her service to children and families. These organizations include LFAPA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation Angel Award, YMCA St. Tammany West Hometown Hero Award, Together We Can Conference, Linda Christmas Award, Louisiana Institute of Children and Families, Angel in Adoption Award, First Lady Edwards Louisiana Fosters, Governor Edwards, Louisiana Institute of Children in Families, and many more.
Lisa Murphy was most recently with the 22nd JDC District Attorney’s Office as the Diversion Department Supervisor. As such, she has helped thousands of individuals receive counseling, abstain from substances, serve our community, and gain more education. In addition, she helped the department become more effective and efficient by changing the structure of case management and shortening the time from referral to enrollment. As a result of Diversion, many good people who may have made poor decisions have had the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, receive counseling, and prevent their mistakes from negatively impacting their futures. Furthermore, the Diversion Program has supported non-profits in the community by mandating nearly everyone perform community service.
As a graduate of the University of Georgia, Mrs. Murphy has worked for international organizations such as United Parcel Service and Simmons Company in Marketing. She recruited Information Technology professionals for Fortune 500 companies, was the Office Manager for a home health software company, and had a wide variety of responsibilities in clinical research. Other professional roles have included sales, fundraising, advertising, and consulting. She has devoted nearly 30 years to the recovery community and has actively participated on the Boards of both Three Rivers Art Festival and Safe Harbor.
Lisa has been happily married to Mike Murphy for 23 years. They have two beautiful children who attend Florida State University. Her greatest joys are her family and helping others.
Director of Operations
Staci Schwittay is a member of the executive management team, and is responsible for the administration of James Samaritan. Staci developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector when she moved to Louisiana and helped with the recovery of Hurricane Katrina. Helping others unleashed something in her spirit that forever changed her world. She has been a part of several organizations including the Samartian Center, Boys & Girls Club, Celebrate Recovery, Church of the King, Bedico Baptist, Saint Tammany Art Association, Art for Madisonville, Ahava Festival and Ozone Songwriters Festival. Staci has a real passion for service and making the world a better place.
Mr. Cook is a Commercial Sales & Leasing Executive for Stirling Properties and serves as the President of The Realtor Land Institute’s Louisiana Chapter. He is a Mandeville High School graduate and received his Bachelorette and Master of Science from Louisiana Tech. He is a strong local advocate for the special needs community as the Program Director for the iCAN Sports League and a Board Member for Special Olympics LA. He also serves as an active Board Member for James Samaritan and the Youth Service Bureau that champion foster and youth services.
Pam Abide is Managing Partner of New Orleans Equity Partners. Her extensive network of contacts has allowed Pam to partner with some of the most respected and experienced people in the real estate industry, producing more than $1 billion dollars of real estate development experience. Pam and her business partners successfully collaborate to manage the complexities of real estate developments. Her vast knowledge of finance, design, environmental, zoning and execution has made her a recognized leader in leader in the business community. Additionally, Pam is a Managing Partner of Paragon Business Capital, which is a firm that provides alternative financing, commonly known as Factoring, for small and mid-size businesses who want to increase business revenue and profitability. Pam believes in nurturing strong business relationships that create a win-win for all parties involved. As a confident, driven professional who reacts quickly to opportunities that produce yield high returns, Pam focuses on project development and acquisitions.
Matt Donley is the Lead Pastor of Cultivation Church in Covington. Pastor Matt has been in full-time ministry for over 18 years where he has served in various capacities such as children’s pastor, youth pastor, and associate pastor in Louisiana and Alabama before he and his wife founded Cultivation Church in 2017. Pastor Matt felt a burden to reach into the foster care system after seeing the enormous need on the Northshore. That burden has led to a church-wide initiative to see hope brought to those effected in the foster system and a big part of that is partnering with James Samaritan.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Glenn joined the James Samaritan team in August 2018 as the Open Table Coordinator. He was the first mission leader for Open Table in Louisiana to launch Tables serving transitioning foster youth. Also, Glenn was a guest speaker at the 2018 La Fosters Summit at the governor’s mansion hosted by First Lady Donna Edwards to convey the impact that Open Table is having on our youth transitioning out of foster care. After a twenty plus year business career, He has been involved full time in youth ministry.
Serving as Director of Finance and Investor Relations with New Orleans Equity Partners, based in Covington, LA, Sharon’s primary focus includes Land Investment, Fossil Fuels Investments and Real Estate Development. She works closely with local leaders and influencers in the markets she is invested in to ensure success in those markets. Her knowledge and experience with acquisitions and structuring of successful projects bring many creative ideas to enhance profitability. Her active participation in the marketplace has enhanced her ability to make a difference locally and to stay connected in a constantly changing and emerging marketplace. Sharon partners with some of the most experienced people in the Real Estate Industry and brings a management team with over $1 billion dollars of Real Estate development experience. Sharon helps to navigate through the complexities of zoning, design, environmental, finance and execution of Real Estate development projects.
David Richard has 30 years of insurance, IT, and executive level business experience. He began his professional career after graduating from LSU and becoming a full-time EMT-Intermediate Paramedic at East Jefferson General Hospital. He then joined the insurance services firm his father started, assuming information technology roles in the growing company. As a former software developer, systems engineer, manager, division president, CTO, CIO, and now Sr. VP for a tech company in Texas, David has worked at the senior executive level of a large, multi-national company (more than 5,000 employees). His past volunteer efforts have been on local and state-wide election campaigns, helping 2016 flood recovery and victims, past president of the SELU CS/IT Advisory board, Education Travel and Culture (edutrav.org) and the Visiting Pet Program.
Rebecca Birkett is the principal of Lyon Elementary school in Covington, Louisiana. She has worked in the field of education for over 15 years. Rebecca received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Mercy College in New York City. Rebecca is an Ohio native and is a proud (and loud!) Buckeye fan! She attended The Ohio State University in 2009 and 2014 where she completed coursework to obtain her principal and superintendent licensure. She married her best friend, Owen, in 2015 and quickly learned when you marry someone from south Louisiana, they bring you back to south Louisiana. Rebecca serves as the Executive Board Secretary for the Children's Advocacy Center - Hope House. She is extremely excited and humbled to join the board where her passion for children and young adults will be an asset to the mission and vision of James Samaritan. Rebecca lives in the city of Covington with her husband, their Yorkie-Poo Napoleon, and their niece who is a junior at Spelman.
Glynn Robinson is Minister of Missions and Evangelism at First Baptist Church in Covington where he has served since 1997. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to moving to Covington he served in churches in Hattiesburg, MS and Natchitoches, LA. Glynn gives leadership to FBC Covington’s local and international missions efforts. He also leads FBC Covington’s disaster relief response ministry and actively engages in community ministry partnerships with organizations seeking to make our community better and stronger. He is the director of the FBC Covington’s kid’s sports league, Upward Sports. Glynn and his wife Melinda are love spending their Saturdays watching Southern Miss football and hooking their camper up and going places they have never been.