Leadership

Bridget Cravens-Neely, MBA – Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]  (515) 215-9974
Bridget joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa as CEO in June 2022. Prior to this, she had a successful 30-year career in the insurance industry with her last 16 years spent at Nationwide. Bridget also co-owns with her husband Bottle & Bottega Des Moines, a wine and art party business located in Downtown Des Moines. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Illinois State University and a Masters of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Throughout her career, Bridget has held various roles from formal people leadership to individual contributor. Her experience includes positions in administration, operations, sales, service, project management, and organizational leadership. These roles have established her brand as a thought leader who is collaborative, entrepreneurial, and innovative.

Bridget has made an impact through her professional and civic work in the Des Moines community. In 2017, Bridget received the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s 2017 Alumni Volunteer Award. She currently serves in organizations like the Iowa Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; the Des Moines Chapter of The Links, Incorporated; Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute; Women Lead Change (Central Iowa Conference); Many Shades of Colour Conference; the YMCA MLK Prayer Breakfast Steering Committee; and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She also serves on the Business Record’s Racial Equity Advisory Board, 2023 Black and Brown Business Summit Planning Committee, and LadyLike Strategic Planning Committee. She has recently become an Open Book Storyteller with CultureALL.

Tony Leo, Director of Programs
[email protected]
  (515) 217-4013
Tony joined BBBSCI in 2005 as a Match Support Specialist and in 2017 became Director of Programs. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s in Social Work. Tony has lived in Des Moines most of his life with his wife, Kate, 3 sons – Jake, Alex, and Luke, and dog Lucky. In his free time, Tony coaches basketball and Odyssey of the Mind and enjoys doing yard work and watching sports – especially the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Amina Cannie-Hall, Manager of Operations
[email protected] 
515-215-9976
Amina began her role as Manager of Operations in January 2023. Being a native of Philadelphia, PA, and a proud "Eagles Fan," Amina relocated to West Des Moines, IA in 2013 after marrying her husband, a native Iowan. Amina is an Iowa State University graduate with a degree in advertising and business management.

Amina brings a wealth of knowledge and innovation to her role, having previously worked for Wells Fargo and Apple. At these companies, Amina honed her communication, organization, operations, and technology skills. She is certified in repairing and troubleshooting computer hardware and software.

Amina also owns and operates A. Cannie LLC (established in 2008). This business specializes in photography and design with clients across the United States. Amina’s passion for leveraging her life experiences to help others aligns perfectly with BBBSCI’s mission to ignite the power and promise of our youth.

Ben Chiochon, Director of Fund Development
[email protected] 
515-259-3138
Ben comes to us with a combined 19 years of fundraising experience with the Boy Scouts of America and The Nature Conservancy of Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Leisure, Youth and Human Services. Ben was born in Des Moines, raised in Spirit Lake, and now calls Dallas Center home with his wife Kristin, daughter Lydia, son Jackson and dogs Wrigley and Chewy. He serves as a board member for the Board of Adjustments for Dallas Center, a board member on the Dallas Center-Grimes Education Foundation, and mentor for nearly 20 youth as Cubmaster for the Dallas Center Cub Scout pack. When Ben is not raising funds he enjoys baseball, golfing, kayaking, fishing, and traveling.

TEAM

Jada Alexander, Substance Abuse Prevention Mentoring Coordinator
[email protected] 
(515) 661-4244
Jada graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is currently working towards a Master of Social Work degree at Grandview University. Previously, Jada worked as a Sexual Assault Campus Outreach and Prevention Advocate at ACCESS, a victim services agency located in Ames, IA. She has volunteered with numerous youth centered agencies and programs in the Des Moines area. Growing up in Des Moines, Jada brings connections and longstanding partnerships to her role at BBBSCI. In her free time she loves to read romance novels and spend time with her loved ones.


Sara Bishop, Marketing & Communications Manager
[email protected]
  (515) 215-9973
Sara has been with BBBSCI since October 2011. She graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Art & Design. Originally from northeast Iowa, Sara now calls Des Moines home and enjoys exploring the city’s local shops and cafes.


Grace Breiholz, School-Based Mentoring Coordinator

[email protected]  (515) 717-0747
Grace graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Grace volunteered with numerous youth organizations throughout college, including Boys and Girls Club, Girls on the Run, and Dance Marathon. Grace is originally from the Des Moines area, and she enjoys spending time with friends and family, trying new activities throughout the community, and watching football and baseball.


Nathan Brooks, Agency Brand Ambassador

[email protected]  (515) 218-7266
Nathan comes to BBBSCI with experience in a variety of roles including time spent at Employee and Family Resources, Central Iowa Employment & Training Consortium, Better Business Bureau, and serving on the Polk County Board of Supervisors as an elected official.  He also has participated in a number of civic activities including the Bridges Mentoring Program, serving as a board member for six different organizations, and enjoys coaching youth track and football. He is a prior "40 Under 40" recipient from the Business Record and brings a great deal of passion for our mission.


Jay Hall, Mentor Recruitment & Engagement Coordinator
[email protected]  (515) 215-9975
Before his position at BBBSCI as a Mentor Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator, Jay worked with Diverse Solutions Group as a corporate trainer which fueled his passion for meeting others and travel. He mentored for the Dream Team, which participated in RAGBRAI many years and Youth Homes of MidAmerica. Jay is a Des Moines native and enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, playing pool, and cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs.


Sergi Henriquez, Match Support & Child Enrollment Specialist
[email protected]  (515) 217-5163
Sergi joined BBBSCI in December 2022 with prior experience working at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay in Florida. Sergi graduated with a bachelor's degree in Public Health from the University of South Florida. Her previous professional experience includes working with children of different ages in the Pasco County School District. A native New Yorker, Sergi moved to Florida when she was 14 years old; today, she calls Iowa home. She looks forward to continuing to grow within her career of serving our youth. She is excited to enjoy great activities, events, restaurants, and sight seeing Iowa has to offer with family and friends.


Tristan Hines, Workplace Mentoring Coordinator
[email protected]  (515) 329-0341
Tristan joined BBBSCI in September 2021. He was born near Washington DC and grew up in Van Meter, Iowa. Tristan earned his bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish from Coe College in 2018. In college, he participated in various extracurricular activities and organizations like Coe Human Rights Activists, Linn County Central Committee, and Justice for our Neighbors. He brings his experience in education and training from working abroad. In his free time, Tristan enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, going to concerts, and watching superhero movies.


Emma Kolpek, Match Support Specialist
[email protected]  (515) 207-2762
Emma interned with BBBSCI during summer 2021 and joined the team officially in August 2021. She graduated from the University of Iowa in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a minor in Social Justice, and a certificate in Resilience and Trauma Informed Perspectives. During college, Emma volunteered at CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank with their crisis intervention services, and she was a member of the 2020-21 Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct. She is originally from the Des Moines area, and enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her cat, Kylo. Emma also volunteers as a Big in BBBSCI's School-Based Mentoring program.

Danielle Moss, Volunteer & Recruitment Coordinator
[email protected]
  (515) 217-4014
Danielle joined BBBSCI as the Volunteer and Recruitment Coordinator in January 2019. She grew up in Des Moines and has spent much of her life volunteering at church and a variety of health and human services organizations while maintaining a career in the finance and insurance industry. Danielle enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, hiking and other outdoor activities when the temps are warm. She also volunteers at BBBSCI as a Big Duo with her husband.

Ahmed Musa, Future Pathways Program Coordinator
[email protected] 
(515) 272-5146
Ahmed Musa, a Simpson University alum, brings program coordination expertise from Urban Dreams. He's volunteered extensively with youth-focused organizations in Des Moines. Ahmed's upbringing in Des Moines cultivated valuable community ties. At BBBSCI, he utilizes these connections for a meaningful role. Outside of work, Ahmed coaches basketball, enjoys travel, and cherishes family time.


Lauryn Nystrom, Fund Development Manager
[email protected]
  (515) 217-4012
Lauryn has been with BBBSCI since March 2018. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in Leisure, Youth & Human Services. Lauryn also obtained a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential. Lauryn was born and raised in Ackley, IA. In her free time, Lauryn enjoys spending time outdoors, baking, and attending festivals and the farmers market with friends.


Andrea Pinkney, Match Support & Child Enrollment Specialist
[email protected]  (515) 238-8903
Andrea joined BBBSCI as a Match Support & Child Enrollment Specialist in June 2023 with prior experience working as a School-Based Mentoring Specialist at BBBS of Greater Birmingham in Alabama. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Andrea was born and raised in San Diego, CA and now resides in Ankeny, IA with her husband of 21 years and 3 children. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and kids and is excited to explore all that Des Moines has to offer. Andrea is a long-time admirer and supporter of the mission and vision of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and very eager to invest in and champion the youth that we serve.


Brett Stiles, Match Support & Child Enrollment Specialist
[email protected]  (515) 335-1209
Brett graduated from Bellevue University with a degree in Human Service and Social Administration. He plans on graduating with a Masters in Public Administration from Drake University in August of 2023. Brett brings experience from multiple human service agencies such as Siouxland Food Bank, Goodwill of Central Iowa, Stepping Stone Family Services and Mosaic, over the course of his professional career. He enjoys cooking, playing games, and being with family who keeps him active and busy.