Meet the Board
Annette Gantt is our new Chair of the board of directors at SCMA. She comes to our organization with twenty-five (25) years of board experience.
She has primarily worked in the nonprofit sector, and currently holds a leadership position with a very prominent organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She also carries the badge of being a caregiver to a daughter living with Sickle Cell disease. Annette is excited about the opportunity to chair the board as we work together to prepare SCMA for success.”
Debi Sabotin is treasurer of the SCMA board of directors. She obtained Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1983 at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1986. She is currently retired. Her compassion for those living with Sickle Cell disease stems from watching her dear friends who struggle throughout their lives with this disease. She accepted a board position to raise awareness and fundraise for SCMA to support the programs that she is convinced will increase access to healthcare for this community and improve quality of life. Debi brings to board her skills at analyzing complex problems and implementing practical solutions. She is committed to fostering a culture of responsibility and accountability at SCMA.
Jennifer Valentin is the Secretary of the board of director. She has been an emergency room nurse for nine years and is currently the Charge Nurse at her local hospital’s Emergency Room in Oveido Florida. She has made healthcare equity for patients living with Sickle Cell disease a big part of her platform. Her advocacy includes fighting for Sickle Cell disease management education to be included in the curriculum of nurses, with cultural sensitivity training about Sickle Cell disease included as well. She has created projects and in-service for her fellow nurses addressing these topics as she seeks a more compassionate emergency room environment for patients presenting in a Sickle Cell crisis to her hospital. She also informs Sickle Cell patients of resources like SCMA’s website.
Jennifer is married to a Paramedic Firefighter and has four children. She is excited about serving as the secretary of the board of directors at SCMA.
Rita Hoyt has been a certified nutritionist here in Orlando Florida for over two decades. She brings this knowledge as well as her strengths in fundraising and social connection to the organization.
Ade Adeyokunnu is the Director of Marketing and has always been passionate about sickle cell advocacy for as long as he can remember. It’s what drove him to create sikcell.com in 2009, the first online community for people living with sickle cell disease. He believes building a support network of people who understand what you’re going through is crucial when you’re living with an isolating and often misunderstood, chronic condition like this sickle cell disease. Ade brings extensive technology consulting experience as a former tech consultant with multiple big 4 firms. He now works in product marketing at a technology company. Ade received his MBA from The University of Texas, his B.A. in Computer science from St. Marys and his MSc in IT from Stevenson University.
Kara O’Connor is a board member and volunteer staff. She sits on others Board including her local YMCA, and has been in the financial services industry for 25 years. She currently owns a financial advisory practice in Nebraska.
She is pursuing her Organizational Communications degree with Creighton University. She says “I am passionate about community, diversity and equity”. She's married with three teenage sons and an adopted son who lives with Sickle Cell disease.
Dale Hardaway is in healthcare administration at Advent Health in Orlando Florida. He has followed our SCMA cause since its inception and is excited to be a part of the board of directors. His compassion for people living with Sickle Cell disease stems from being like family to Simone and Aniekan Uwan, the co-founders of SCMA. He has had a front row seat to their journey with this disease and heard the stories of poor care for Sickle Cell patient. He is committed to fundraising and bringing awareness of the SCD barriers in healthcare to new demographics in Orlando. Mr. Hardaway earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at East Carolina University and a Master of Science in Health Services Administration at the University of Central Florida. He is married with three children.
Garth Oliver MD is a board certified Internal Medicine physician in West Haven, Connecticut who has practiced medicine for over 30 years. He attended Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons for medical school, and did his residency at New York University (NYU)
Grossman School of Medicine from 1993-1996. He is affiliated with Yale-New Haven Hospital where he mentors residents interested in General Internal Medicine, primary care. He is married with two adult children.
In January of 2023 Dr. Oliver accepted an offer to volunteer on the board of directors at Sickle Cell Medical Advocacy Inc. to contribute in a meaningful way to the Sickle Cell disease community.
Chandelic M. J. Melton, Esq. has joined the SCMA board of directors as a liaison between SCMA and the consulting legal team at Florida A&M Law School legal clinic providing support for SCMA. She is a graduate of FAMU Law School, currently residing in North Florida and working with Epiq Global, a private legal company. Combined with the fact that the Sickle Cell trait runs in her extended family, she has had an interest in doing nonprofit work and has followed the progress of SCMA since it’s inception. Barrister Melton is married with two children.