Marta Howell – Chief Executive Officer
Marta is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Urban Planning. She was hired as Executive Director for Friends in 2010. She has held position of Executive Director with the M.S. Hershey Foundation and Neighborhoods Inc. of Battle Creek, and served as interim executive director for numerous nonprofit organizations in a consulting capacity. Marta enjoys cooking, reading, and boating.
Debbie Frank – Chief Operating Officer
If an artist needs a muse then they also need a medium. Putting art into practice, Debbie thrives on seeing the big picture then working through the details. A skill set that started before earning a B.A degree in Psychology; then, cultivated by working in education, franchise establishment, real estate and the entertainment arena. Originally from Virginia Beach, this coastal gal found her way to Florida in 1996. She spent several years in St. Augustine and traveling about with her husband before making SW Florida home. Debbie joined the Friends of Boca Grande in 2015. You will likely see her exploring the island with her toddler son, grabbing a latte or dancing under the stars at a concert. “The island has called my name and I am forever grateful. See you at the Community Center!” – Debbie
D.J. Keisling – Business & Facilities Manager
Keisling, a Pittsburgh native, graduated in 1987 from Edinboro (PA) with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education with minors in Fitness Management and Athletic Coaching. Has been a teacher at L. A. Ainger Middle School in Rotonda West since 1994. Coached football, wrestling and track for 15 years at Lemon Bay High School. D.J. and his lovely wife of 25 years, Janine, have two children, Trent and Alannah, who attend Thiel College in PA. He has been with the Friends since April 1995.
Jodi Overman – Program Assistant
Originally from the Midwest, Jodi has lived and worked in the area since 2000. In 2008, she returned to school to earn a certificate in Digital Design at the Charlotte County Tech Center, allowing her to pursue a website design business. She joined Friends in 2017 with over 30 years of experience in the tourism industry, and attributes that longevity to the fact that she loves to meet new people. Jodi has two grown children who attended Lemon Bay High School, then continued on to graduate college. Her son and his wife live in Red Lodge, MT and her daughter lives with her boyfriend and works in Minneapolis, MN. Jodi continues to work where others vacation to fulfill her love of travel. She also enjoys fishing, bicycling and paddle boarding, practicing yoga and attending music festivals.
Kyle Rich – Show Production Manager
This New Yorker landed in Englewood in 2004 at only 13 years old. Talk about a culture shock! Kyle is a performer at heart. He’s spent most of his life performing on stage in musical theatre and rock & roll bands. Art, technology, writing and philosophy are also passions of this eccentric young “dude”. He received his B.S. in Recording Arts at Full Sail University in Orlando 2011, where he also began working in live show production. Now at 28 years old and a proud husband and father, Kyle stays rooted in his passions alongside his wife Jessica, and his sons, Saylor and Elias.
Josh Cross – Technology Specialist
Born in Florida but raised in Michigan, Josh joined the Friends team in October of 2021. He brings with him over 15 years of experience as an Information Technology Analyst in the healthcare industry. Since moving down with his wife and three children earlier this year, he is looking forward to making new friends in this beautiful community. For fun, Josh enjoys backpacking, playing guitar and volunteering.
Lauren Ringeisen – Event Coordinator
Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Lauren spent several years living and traveling in Huntington Beach, CA, Chicago, IL and Atlanta, GA. She met her husband in Atlanta and they found their way down Southwest FL in February of 2021 where her family retired. Lauren has explored Boca Grande since the early 2000’s and thinks of this place as a slice of home. She enjoys going to the beach, traveling, playing with her son (soon to be 2 sons! Expecting April 2023) and doing puzzles.
Shana Morris – Customer Service and Donation Relations Specialist
Shana was born and raised in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of the city of Pittsburgh, where her family still resides today. She moved to Charlotte County in 2003 to pursue her teaching career after finishing her undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education at Slippery Rock University. She taught in both elementary and middle schools for 16 years with Charlotte County Public Schools, brightening the lives of many children, creating lifelong connections and friendships along the way. Her love of computers, technology, and helping others learn led her to post-graduate studies at Full Sail University in Education Media Design and Technology. Shana finds joy in beach days, time with friends, plants, and making unique crafts. She is looking forward to experiencing her first season with her new friends at Friends!
Effie Joiner – Program Assistant
Born and raised in the town we all love! Effie Joiner is a multigenerational native to Boca Grande, Florida. She enjoys spending time with her family while also taking trips far away from home, learning & growing along the way. With a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education, she thrives on sustainability and teaching others how to live healthy and fulfill a symbiotic relationship with the environment. She loves being outdoors whether she is gardening, hiking, hunting, fishing or enjoying exquisite views. Growing up on the island and experiencing the close-knit town truly showed Effie the importance of a connected community. Boca Grande is unique and is a rare find. She plans on seeing what the world has to offer while striving for clean eating, living, and enjoying life to the fullest.