LISC National
About Us

Staff


Janet Owens, Executive Director

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Janet Owens passed away after a long battle with cancer. In tribute to Janet, developer Steve Adkins created a very special lighting display at the Barnett building (pictured left) where Janet started her career at Barnett Bank. LISC Jacksonville was instrumental in the renovation of this historic building. 

Sherry Magill, chair of the advisory board states: "Janet was a rare spirit, always filled with love and a positive outlook, and possessed an extraordinary ability to make everyone she encountered feel important and heard." Janet served as Executive Director of the Jacksonville office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Jacksonville) for ten years. Since its opening in 1999, LISC Jacksonville has invested nearly $500 million in Jacksonville's urban core neighborhoods including: 2,100  affordable homes and apartments and 1.7 million square feet of space for commercial, community, and education purposes. 

After taking the leadership role at LISC in 2010, Janet orchestrated the organization’s strategic shift to a comprehensive approach for community development. The implementation of this strategy has included the launch of the EPIC (Empower People, Inspire Change) Communities initiative, and the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) program, an evidence-based model to help families achieve financial stability.

Before joining LISC in 2010, Janet was Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way of Northeast Florida and held previous leadership roles at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and Volunteer Jacksonville and with the city governments of Washington, D.C, Adrian, Michigan, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Janet holds a bachelor’s degree from Russell Sage College and is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional. Janet is a Paul Harris Fellow and member of Rotary Club of Jacksonville She was recently recognized by Leadership Jacksonville as an outstanding community trustee at its 2018 Leadership Celebration. Janet serves on the boards of several nonprofit programs and has a lifelong commitment to helping vulnerable families, children and communities thrive.

David Pierson, Fund Development Officer

David joined LISC Jacksonville in 2015 after a successful career in performing arts and philanthropy leadership. Most recently, David was interim president of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra where he helped position it for the future. David also served as the Symphony’s executive director from 1988 to 1996. During that time, the Symphony grew substantially, and David was involved in many major projects including securing funds for the Jacoby Symphony Hall, the Jacksonville Youth Symphony and more.

David has extensive experience in philanthropy including at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and as an independent philanthropic consultant staffing the Jessie Ball duPont Community Building Fund. His work included the design and implementation of the Reflective Practice Grantmaking Initiative; capacity building seminars for grant recipients; an annual community-wide convening for youth-development organizations; and the design, development and implementation of the Community Coaches Program.

During his career, David also taught music in Sydney, Australia and served as an adjunct professor for Arts Administration at Wright State University and the University of Dayton. David Pierson, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Indiana University.

John Sapora, Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Manager

The trauma and disruption of disasters can be transformed into opportunities for community investment and change.

As part of LISC's growing capacity to assist disaster recovery efforts across its national network, John focuses on (a) structuring a Hurricane Irma Unmet Needs Home Repair Initiative for vulnerable residents in low income neighborhoods, (b) collaborating with government emergency management, nonprofits and businesses to establish a Duval County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), and (c) helping Jacksonville and Northeast Florida invest in mitigation and resiliency activities that reduce the suffering and high cost of disasters. John currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Northeast Florida Long Term Recovery Organization (LTRO) and chairs its Construction Committee comprised of CDC construction managers that utilize their pool of home repair contractors.

John joined LISC full-time in May 2019. His experience includes working as tenant intake attorney at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and 16 years as national legal counsel for The First Tee youth development program. Prior to joining The First Tee, John practiced real estate and finance law in Jacksonville, and remains active in working with churches and nonprofit organizations. He has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida  Levin College of Law, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.
 

Charles Shealy, Real Estate and Lending Program Officer 

Charles (Chuck) Shealy joined LISC Jacksonville in April 2017. Chuck has extensive experience in commercial lending and a strong history in working with municipalities, planning departments and neighborhood organizations to meet "smart growth" initiatives and reach mutually beneficial goals. 

Chuck has been involved in the Atlanta real estate market for nearly 30 years holding positions with Confederation Life Insurance Company; Maxwell Properties, Inc.; SCI Real Estate Investments, LLC; and Massell Commercial Real Estate. Prior to joining LISC Jacksonville, he worked for IGI Real Estate Consulting who has offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Greenville South Carolina. 

Chuck graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance and Real Estate.

Kristopher Smith,  Community Development Program Officer

Originally from Jacksonville, Kristopher Smith joined the LISC Jacksonville staff on April 20, 2020. In his role as Community Development Program Officer, Smith oversees LISC’s Jacksonville Urban Core Initiative and its efforts to advance economic growth in urban core neighborhoods. Kristopher brings nearly 20 years of experience in community engagement and development, grantmaking and capacity building to the organization.

Kristopher comes to Jacksonville from Lexington, Kentucky where he served as Director of Community Services for the Community Action Council in Lexington managing the organization’s community centers and Head Start initiatives focused on reducing poverty, helping ensure program excellence and compliance while providing financial oversight for the agency’s $42 million annual operating budget as part of the senior leadership group. Before joining Community Action, he served as a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Mid-South, focusing on workforce development, community revitalization and education issues. Prior to that, Smith was the director of leadership development for the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and during that time he worked closely with the Older Industrial Cities funder working group to allocate resources and oversee project execution.

Kristopher received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University; and his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Bethune – Cookman University. Also, he participated in Neighborworks’ Achieving Excellence in Community Development Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University, and received his certification in Entrepreneurship Education from Babson College.

 

Kathie Silvia, Administrative Assistant

Kathie joined LISC August 2011. Before joining LISC, Kathie worked for various non-profits in Jacksonville including United Way of Northeast Florida and Daniel Memorial, Inc., the oldest child care serving agency in the state of Florida.  Prior to working with non-profits, Kathie worked for Sears Distribution Center in Jacksonville for 15 years.

When not in the office, she enjoys going to the gym and has participated in several half-marathons and has run a full marathon.  She also enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren and working in the yard. But her one favorite thing to do, is decorating her house for Christmas.  Her house is the most decorated house in her neighborhood. 

Wilber Gonzalez, Director of Finance

Wilber currently is responsible for preparing and monitoring the annual budgets for several LISC offices and developing systems to improve the efficiency of their accounting and reporting processes. In addition, he is responsible for overseeing the design of the accounting systems, internal control procedures and financial reporting of numerous LISC subsidiaries.

Wilber brings to LISC over two decades of experience in accounting and finance which include working at Aruvil International, Diagnostic Health Services, and Federacion Nacional Comerciantes. He is fluent in Spanish and holds a bachelor’s in Accounting from Universidad de San Buenaventura and a CPA License from the New York Department of Education.

Wilber joined LISC in 2003 as a Junior Accountant and was promoted to the position of Director of Finance for LISC NYC in 2014. In 2015, he served as a budget and finance consultant to LISC Jacksonville and in 2016 he expanded his role in finance and budgeting as a permanent contracted staff consultant for LISC Jacksonville.