Meet the board of directors

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.

Marlene Sandler Mejia, Vice President

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.

Nelson Garcia-Tavel, Secretary

A successful businessman in the oil industry, Mr. Garcia-Tavel is currently Vice President of Business Development at a global oil company. In his position, Mr. Garcia-Tavel oversees oil exploration and related operations in Texas, Virgin Islands, Colombia and Hungary. He joined the Board of Directors effective April 2016.

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.

Dan Kaplowitz

A retired US Army Commissioned Officer since 1972, Mr. Kaplowitz has since held numerous positions in the business world. Mr. Kaplowitz has volunteered in The Soup Kitchen since 1998 and joined the Board of Directors in 1999.

Jason Okleshen

A shareholder and practicing trial lawyer with the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, Mr. Okleshen’s expertise is in real estate, commercial and business litigation. Mr. Okleshen joined The Soup Kitchen’s Board of Directors in 2012 and serves as its legal advisor. Mr. Okleshen is Chair of the Governance Committee.

Melissa Dibble

An accomplished professional in academia, Ms. Dibble is currently Director of Strategic Partnerships at Score at the Top. In this position, Ms. Dibble is responsible for growing the presence of the Score Academy and Learning Center in the communities served with special attention to equestrian support.  Ms. Dibble joined the Board of Directors effective August 2016.

Joanna Franks Sackel

An attorney, Ms. Sackel worked for several years in private practice and in law school administration. She holds a JD/MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently a professor at Lynn University, Boca Raton. Ms. Sackel joined the Board of Directors effective December 2017.

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.

Rhoda Fliss, President Emerita

A retired professional, Ms. Fliss considers herself a perennial Volunteer having served many organizations throughout her lifetime. Ms. Fliss has been a volunteer at The Soup Kitchen since 2000 and joined the Board of Directors in 2002. She was elected President Emerita in September 2019.