Board of Directors
Brenda Rhodes (President) founded Simple Needs GA in June 2010. Over the past 22 years since moving to this area, she has volunteered her time with a host of nonprofit organizations in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta, including MUST Ministries, Good Mews Animal Foundation, Special Olympics, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Hands on Atlanta, Wellstar Foundation and The Center for Family Resources. Brenda also contributes to the local missions teams and sings in the choir at First United Methodist Church of Marietta. She is a member of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus. In recognition of the thousands of hours she has spent volunteering, Brenda received the National Points of Light Award in both November 2007 and July 2010. She was the featured Hands on Network volunteer on MSNBC’s “Brewing Together” program in 2009. The prior year, she received both the Lifetime President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. Brenda was Hands on Atlanta’s Premier Volunteer in 2004 and received her University’s Alumni Service Award in 1997. Previously an IBM team leader and now working as a Business Analyst/Tech Lead at Genesys, Brenda is a charter member of the Mountain View Professionals Kiwanis Club. In 2012, she was recognized as a YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Tribute to Woman of Excellence. She is a graduate of the 2016 class of Leadership Cobb and the winner of the 2016 W. Wyman Pilcher Jr. Memorial Grant for community service from the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association. She was on the local tv show InFocus Atlanta in February 2018 and won the Cobb Collaborative’s Jack Vaughn Jr. Human Services Award, Volunteer Category, in November 2017. She was featured on the cover of the East Cobber Magazine in December of 2017 and, in November 2018, won East Cobb Citizen of the Year from the East Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
Melanie Booker is one of our founding members (since 2010). She volunteers with the backpack food program at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, as well as nonprofits such as the North Fulton Community Charities, Project Soldier Mail, MUST Ministries and Atlanta Women Day Shelter. Melanie, a Georgia Tech graduate, is an executive at IBM, where she is the channel director of global sales for the company’s Power Systems business. She has worked at IBM since 1996.
Joel Groover (Secretary) has worked as a freelance writer for the past 15 years. He is a University of Georgia journalism graduate and contributing editor for Shopping Centers Today, the monthly magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers, and writes and edits press releases, corporate newsletter articles, annual reports, byline pieces, website copy and more for a national PR firm. His work has appeared in publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Creative Loafing, Atlanta Magazine, Cobb Life, The Marietta Daily Journal and Cobb Business Journal.
Phil Hall joined the Board of Directors for Simple Needs GA in 2011. Phil, who handles SNGA’s legal and insurance matters, learned of the organization while volunteering on weekends for MUST Ministries. In addition to his work with SNGA, Phil also donates his time to organizations such as Keep Smyrna Beautiful and the Atlanta IBM volunteer team. The latter group seeks to beautify local neighborhoods by painting public school classrooms, building community gardens, helping to renovate schools and more. Phil is employed as sales manager for IBM USA and consults with general business customers on “how to build a better planet.” He has been with the company since 1997.
Yolanda Kingsberry (Treasurer) was introduced to and started volunteering with Simple Needs GA as part of a volunteer program through her employer. After a life-changing event, her desire to give back was greatly increased. She began looking for an opportunity to get involved with helping the community on a more consistent basis. Yolanda previously had only volunteered seasonally for other non-profit organizations such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank and MUST Ministries. After her first volunteer experience with SNGA, she returned to volunteer again and has been volunteering ever since. Yolanda is a TSS Process Consultant at IBM, where she is part of a team who reviews and validates current and new processes to ensure customer fulfillment tasks are completed with the highest efficiency. She has worked at IBM since 1997.
Alicia Putnam is a Georgia native and has lived in Cobb County for the past 20 years. She has been with IBM for 20 years where she is currently working as an International Sales specialists for the Electronics Industry. After volunteering over the years with different organizations around Atlanta such as Must Ministries, Habitat for Humanity and The Atlanta Community Food Bank, she decided she wanted to be move involved in her community and make it more of a priority. She was introduced to Simple Needs GA through the volunteer program at IBM in May of 2017. Alicia now spends most Saturdays with SNGA either at the Warehouse helping out with one of the many programs, or working with the furniture program picking up donations and delivering them to one of our families in need.
Nancy Riley grew up in Marietta and attended Walton High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Auburn University and a master’s degree in Communications from Georgia State University. She’s made a career at IBM in various communications roles and currently works as an Analyst Relations Manager. Nancy is an IBM Platinum Volunteer and a three-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She served seven years on the Board of Directors of Good Mews Animal Foundation, a no-kill cat shelter in Marietta, and currently serves as a medical volunteer and foster mom. She is a pro bono consultant for Community Consulting Teams – Atlanta, where she has developed marketing and strategic plans for Atlanta nonprofits Usher’s New Look and Second Life. She serves on the Advisory Board to the Department of Communication at Auburn University. Nancy began volunteering with Simple Needs GA in 2017 working in the warehouse, serving clients, helping with the Christmas program, and helping with database management and other record-keeping.
Danielle Rose is an Atlanta native. She grew up in Marietta and still resides in Cobb County. She graduated from Marietta High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Kennesaw State University. She has spent most of her career in Human Resources, focusing on employee benefit programs. She has worked for SunTrust Banks, IHG, and Exide Technologies, and is currently an Asst. Vice President with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. She is active in the community involvement program at the Bank, and over the years has volunteered with numerous organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Open Hand, the Foundation for Hospital Art, Midtown Assistance Center, and Mostly Mutts. She began volunteering with Simple Needs GA in September 2015, working with the organization’s furniture program. She also continues to volunteer on a regular basis with Mostly Mutts and the American Red Cross.
Donna Strauss has volunteered with SNGA since November 2012. Founder of Marietta-based EZ Accounting & Tax Services LLC, she earned her Certified Public Accountant license in 1998 and has been serving local businesses and individuals ever since. Donna also earned degrees in business and accounting from Kennesaw State University. She grew up on Long Island, New York, and was trained as a medic during her service in the U.S. Army in 1985. Donna moved to Georgia in 1989 and soon became a mother. “My passions lie with helping others,” she says. “I hope to one day be able to counsel teens with life issues.” She also volunteers for Give Homeless Hope and has been an active member of Living Word On The Move Church in McDonough for almost 10 years.
Jen Sypeck is originally from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and after a 10 year stop in California Jen relocated to Marietta, Georgia in 2010. After spending over 20 years in the home decor industry working with top brands from Smith & Hawken, Pottery Barn, The Home Depot and Home Decorators Collection she started her own Merchandising Consulting Business in 2018. Jen started volunteering with SNGA in December 2017 after hearing about and being inspired by the My Birthday Matters Program and joined the board in the Fall of 2018. She spends most Saturdays working with clients getting them set up with furniture and small household needs as they transition out of homelessness. Jen has volunteered and holds a committee lead role with Good Mews Animal Foundation and has previously volunteered with The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.