Donna Pygott brings more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in executive leadership, fiscal management, and operational strategy. Ms. Pygott is a strengths-based leader with extensive knowledge in balancing programs with a sound and sustainable infrastructure. Her success comes from her ability to unify staff, volunteers, teams, and board members around a common goal: to make a difference in people’s lives. Prior to accepting the Executive Director position at North Raleigh Ministries, Ms. Pygott served as Vice President/CFO for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina where she oversaw all aspects of operations as well as program development, grants and contracts, resource development. Ms. Pygott holds an accounting degree, which she applies to organization budgeting and fiscal management to ensure viable service delivery. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs, entertains friends, volunteers, and enjoys traveling.
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Director of Programs
Lesley holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from North Carolina State University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has over 15 years of experience in case management, family therapy, supervision, and program development. She strives to ensure that NRM continuously shifts to meet the needs of the North Raleigh community with a combined approach of faith and evidence based programming. Lesley feels blessed to lead an amazing team in this important work in her own community. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, spending time with her pets, and camping and hiking with her husband and children.
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Joshua graduated from North Carolina State University where he started his career in radio for Capitol Broadcasting Company’s Tobacco Radio Network. In 2003, he served in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as the Executive Director of the North Carolina FFA Foundation. Joshua was part of a fundraising team that generated more than $25 million annually for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In 2017, Joshua began serving as Executive Director of the Piedmont Wildlife Center, an educational, wildlife conservation non-profit in Durham, North Carolina. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, being out on the water, and is an avid sports fan. His passion is to be remembered for living a life of service that is best stated in Luke 14, “To
those that much is given, much is required.”
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Director of Operations
Zach is no stranger to the non-profit industry. Having spent over six years in various management positions at North Raleigh Ministries, he has developed an excellent insight in company management and growth. Zach has obtained an Associate in Arts with a focus in Business Administration from Wake Technical Community College. He currently attends the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s online Bachelor’s in Business Administration program. Zach is originally from Asheville, NC but moved to Raleigh at an early age. He enjoys playing basketball, working on cars, and spending time with family!
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Rashiidah graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology. While she was obtaining her degree at UNC, she worked for several non-profits in Chapel Hill-Durham area primarily around youth empowerment and community development. After graduating, she was a high school English teacher in Eastern North Carolina for a little while. She then went to NCSU to obtain her MSW where she interned at North Raleigh Ministries! She enjoys Zumba, walking/running nature trails, and is an avid reader. An interesting fact about Rashiidah is that she has been vegetarian for over 14 years.
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Kyrstin graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelors of Social Work. She has multiple years of experience working and volunteering with nonprofits including mission work in India and local pregnancy resource centers. While finishing her degree, she had the opportunity to intern at North Raleigh Ministries for a semester. When not at work, Kyrstin loves to spend her day hanging out with her two daughters and husband.
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Irene graduated from Stony Brook University in New York State with her B.A in Psychology. She is fluent in both Spanish and English has worked with the Hispanic community for many years through different church ministries such as a counselor, teacher, and tutor. She was born in Ecuador but raised in New York City. She loves to cook, swim and read on her free time. A fun fact about Irene is that her dog’s name is Peluchin which means “little teddy” in Spanish. His name was inspired by a famous song in a Spanish TV show called “El Chavo del Ocho.”
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Michael Olesen is a retail manager by trade and most recently worked for Lowe’s Home Improvement as a department manager. He also worked in management at other large retail stores such as Home Depot and World Market where he established his abilities to develop retail operations for efficiency and profitability. After leaving his 7-year career as a store manager and committee member for Goodwill of Central Arizona, Michael moved to Raleigh to be closer to family. In addition to retail management, Michael is a regular outdoors-man who enjoys camping, mountain bike riding and other outdoor sports. Most recently, helped to open and develop the TROSA thrift store in Durham, N.C. Currently, he resides in Cary with his daughters, Margot and Maryanne.
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Caroline has worked in the non-profit setting for over five years now. She grew up in sunny Florida where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is passionate about making an impact in people’s lives. Most recently, Caroline worked for House of Hope of NC, which is a Christian therapeutic school, home, and counseling center for hurting and troubled girls. She enjoys being outside, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with her husband, friends, and her golden retriever, Honey.
Jennifer is a finance professional with over 30 years of experience in Accounting and Finances. She most recently worked as a Finance Manager with Pitney Bowes Management Services. She joined North Raleigh Ministries because it was in her heart to be a part of a non-profit that serves the community and helps others. She holds a BS in Finance from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She enjoys playing tennis, DIY projects, and spending time with her family and fur babies.
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Amy earned her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a Certificate of Human Resource Management from Wake Tech Community College. Prior to joining the NRM team, she worked as an HR Associate at Hudson-Belk and Director of Research for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Amy is an avid reader, loves to cook and travel. A fun fact about Amy is that she spent two weeks in the Ionian Islands in Greece watching turtles hatch on an Earthwatch expedition!
Madison graduated from UNC Greensboro with a double major in Sociology and International Development. Since graduating, she has worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Wake County Cooperative Extension. She also taught English in South Korea and volunteered at multiple nonprofits in the Philippines and St Vincent and the Grenadines. She is originally from Texas and moved to North Carolina when she was in middle school. She enjoys doing anything outdoors including swimming, biking, gardening, hiking, or reading!
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Food Pantry Assistant
Steven started volunteering at the Food Pantry back in 2019 and started working as a Food Pantry Assistant in 2020. Some of his responsibilities include overseeing food pantry volunteers, food inventory, and food donations. Steven went to school at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington and currently residing in Wake Forest. Some of his hobbies include playing the guitar, video games, anime, and riding roller coasters!
Harvest Plaza Thrift Shoppe Manager
Jerome is originally from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico but grew up in Raleigh. He graduated from Rolesville High School has been working at North Raleigh Ministries for 3 years, working his way up to Thrift Shoppe Manager of the Harvest Plaza location. He previously worked at DHL eCommerce. On his free time, he likes to play basketball and video games. He loves all things shoes and his biggest inspiration is Kobe Bryant!
Stony Brook Thrift Shoppe Manager
Dave grew up in Staten Island, New York where he graduated from Tottenville High School in 1999. For 12 years, he worked at an institution in Staten Island where he mentored and provided care for developmentally disabled adults. He enjoys spending time with his family at the jump park and beach. An interesting fact about Dave is that he started a custom clothing business in 2006 where he paints sneakers and sews patches onto jackets. One of his favorite pieces was a vintage revamped jacket which he sold for $1,500!