Board of Directors

Meet Our Board

Tommy Ellis, President

A native Palm Beach county resident, Mr. Ellis is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated businesses throughout his entire career. Mr. Ellis is presently co-owner of two Keller Williams Realty offices in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, Florida. Mr. Ellis along with his wife Jackie have supported many of The Soup Kitchen initiatives. He joined the Board of Directors in December 2013 and was elected President in September 2019.

Nelson Garcia-Tavel, VP/Secretary

Mr. Garcia-Tavel graduated from Villanova University School of Engineering in 1973. His professional career traverses over 50 years in the Power Generation and Oil industries. Through his career Mr. Garcia-Tavel held technical, managerial and executive positions in General Electric Overseas,  in various affiliates of Venezuela’s National Oil Company and in a US global oil company.  Mr. Garcia-Tavel has recently retired from his duties from the global US oil company where he held the position of Vice President of Business Development for 18 years.
He joined the Soup Kitchen Board of Directors effective April 2016. Was voted in as Secretary in 2018 and VP in 2023.

Michael M. McCarthy, Treasurer

Born and raised in Washington DC where he has served on many community-based boards dealing with issues such as poverty, healthcare, education, and banking. He started a private investment company based in Bethesda, MD in 1984 with emphasis on investments in commercial real estate and financial services. Mr. McCarthy is a 1968 graduate of Trinity College, CT and a Vietnam Veteran while a member of the US Army from 1969 to 1972. Mr. McCarthy joined TSK Board of Directors effective December, 2017.  He was elected Treasurer in September 2019.

Richard "Dick" Syatt

Richard “Dick” Syatt has lived a lifetime of hospitality and communication. Radio Talk Show Host, Nightclub and Events promotions, Director of Guest Relations for Legal Sea Foods and Travel Guide for Holland America. Mr. Syatt also delivers twice a week for Meals on Wheels and assists with Social Media. Mr. Syatt became a member in October, 2020. 

Jon Maring

Mr. Maring’s professional career spans over 45 years in electric power generation in the areas of project development, engineering, and construction. Before retiring he held a Senior leadership position in a major Electric and Gas Utility. While in project development of new generation facilities he worked closely with local community leaders and agencies to address their concerns and promote the benefits of the new facility to the community. Mr. Maring frequently volunteers at TSK and has been on the BOD since May 2021.

Paris Webb

   Paris R Webb, Esq., earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2003 where he graduated Magna Cum Laude (top 5% of his class). While in law school, Paris received the Deans Fellow Scholarship for his academic achievements and received awards for excellence in Constitutional Law, Property Law, Bankruptcy Law and Sales.

In 2015, Paris, along with his law partner Jay Arnesen, opened Arnesen Webb, PLLC, a law firm specializing in representing policyholders in litigation against their insurance companies. When Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida in 2017, it launched Arnesen Webb into a meteoric rise growing the law firm to 15 attorneys and 17 paralegals/admin staff.  Arnesen Webb is steadfast in its pursuit for justice against insurance companies who refuse to adequately compensate their policyholders.

Mr. Webb joined the board in October, 2021.

Yolanda "Yoli" Peña Buitrago

A successful businesswoman in Real Estate and in Private Investments, Yolanda (Yoli) earned an Executive Leadership from Cornell University and a Masters Degree from Florida Atlantic University where she was a distinguished Adjunct Professor for 12 years. She is bilingual and was born in Colombia.  Currently, Yolanda is a Senior BrokerAssociate with Signature International Premier Properties, LLC. and takes great pride in her impecable credibility and her exceptional in-depth knowledge of the local luxury market. Yolanda is a devoted patron of the Arts with love for theater and opera, and a penchant for fine cuisine. Ms. Peña Buitrago is also a Wine connoisseur of California, Northwest, and the New York regions.  She will be assisting in Fundraising and joined the Board as of January, 2021.

Christine Maricic

Following college, Mrs. Maricic began working in the finance industry. Since 1998, she has gained a comprehensive knowledge of the local market, competitive offers, and economic trends, and now serves as the First Vice President of Valley Bank. Within this role, her responsibilities include overseeing business development and community involvement. As a native Floridian, Mrs. Maricic is very active in the local community and civic organizations. She joined the Board of Directors effective September 2019.

Rich Mascolo

Rich Mascolo has enjoyed a 40-year career in marketing communications, strategy planning, brand development, and marketing sciences.

A University of Pennsylvania graduate, Rich served as EVP for a top 10 global Ad Agency in NYC with operating responsibility for their Direct Marketing subsidiary, then the 3rd largest worldwide.

Later, Rich founded a high-end consultancy specializing in marketing analytics. Among his clients were Coke, FedEx, GM, HBO, IBM, and Merrill Lynch. He sold that company to a top global Ad firm to function as their Corp-wide strategic hub.

Now retired, Rich serves on nonprofit boards that aid the underprivileged. He joined the board in January 2024.


Marlene Sandler Mejia, CEO

An innovative, results oriented professional with over 30 years of broad based management experience, Ms. Mejia has volunteered at the Soup Kitchen since 2004 and is a member of the Board since 2011. Ms. Mejia was elected Vice President in September 2019. Ms. Mejia was named CEO in August, 2020.

In Memoriam

A tribute to Enrique Zuanetto