Board and Officers
Who We Are
MEET THE HARDWORKING TEAM WHO’S MAKING IT ALL POSSIBLE…
David C. McKnight
President
Carrie Slominski
Vice President
Officers
Kimberly Britt
Erinn O’Connor
Sandra Hughes O’Brien
Kathleen Reid
Dorothy Kinnunen
David C. McKnight
David C. McKnight, 248-886-0631, davidm@kidsgala.org
President
David C. McKnight, owner and founder of Emerald City Designs, THE SPECIAL EVENT GROUP, has operated his business since 1993, and has built his reputation on “exceeding expectations” and creating events with “personality and style. From wedding receptions and mitzvahs, to corporate parties and charity fundraisers, David C. McKnight provides high-end floral designs, accessory rentals, unique stationery concepts and full planning and event coordination.
McKnight has grown his business with the commitment of “bringing visions to life,” and combines his cutting edge originality and attention to detail with innovative and creative floral designs. The end results are often referred to as over the top and totally unique. From a one person operation (1993) to a vibrant, highly regarded event firm with staffing dozens of employees seasonally, Emerald City Designs sets the standard for professionalism within the special event industry. In 2011, McKnight created an online store, the poppy shoppe – AN ECD FLORAL BOUTIQUE, servicing local and national floral delivery. In 2009, David re-connected with school mate from Lake Orion, Shelly Lang Burton. At that time, Shelly and David became very close and learned of Shelly and Jim’s daughter, Nicole Marie Burton. She was diagnosed with Leukemia on September 11, 2008. Through her life altering experience, Nicole finished treatment on March 23, 2011, and then relapsed on May 17, 2011. At that time, through many hospital and doctor visits, Nicole received a bone marrow transplant on January 16, 2012. With a perfect matched donor, Nicole was in and out of the hospital in 30 days - she was expected to stay at least 100 days or more. Nicole had 18.5 great months until rejection to the bone marrow set in, she then started treatment in September of 2013. During this difficult time, the idea of KIDSgala arose from Shelly and David’s communication and the first idea started to become a reality. On October 23, 2013, Nicole relapsed again, making it even more important for her to receive the first KIDSgala gifted party to a child. With now the rejection in full force as well as her leukemia returning, she didn't qualify for any trials. When Nicole’s parents Shelly and Jim told her that the cancer was back, she stated “I want to go home mumma”. In full force, David worked with many colleagues on obtaining a date, venue, vendors, etc. and on October 31st, 2013, Nicole was discharged for the last time. It was with great sorrow, that on November 8th, 2013, she peacefully passed away at home with her parents, uncle, grandmother and David. Unfortunately, the KIDSgala event that was being planned turned into a memorial luncheon for Nicole Marie Burton. In memory of Nicole, KIDSgala – A David C. McKnight Foundation was created in her honor. The foundation would not be possible without the endless hours of the ten volunteering Board Members and Officers. Since late 2013, David C. McKnight, President and the Board of Directors have raised thousands of dollars with fundraising events, and in 2014 KIDSgala started gifting “celebration of life” parties to children. With the help of generous sponsors, donations, and volunteers of KIDSgala continues to grow.
"From the memory of one exceptional child; celebrations will be gifted for many children…"
Carrie Slominski
Carrie Slominski, 248-886-0631, carries@kidsgala.org
Vice President
Carrie is the Event Chair of the 2017 KIDSgala 4th Annual White Party Fundraiser to be held at The Townsend Hotel on June 16, 2017. She can be reached at carries@kidsgala.org.
Carrie Slominski is currently serving on the Board of Directors as Vice President of KIDSgala. She received her BBA from Eastern Michigan University and quickly began a job in public accounting. After a year and a half and realizing she liked to interact with people more than accounting was allowing for, Carrie took a job in Sales and flourished. When she and her family moved to Atlanta for her husband's new job, she quit working and took on the most rewarding job yet; full-time mom. Carrie and her family moved back to Michigan in 2001 and settled into the quaint little city of Northville. Volunteering and being involved in her sons' sporting activities has always been at the top of her list. Carrie realized early her sales skills were a huge compliment to her fundraising efforts both for Northville High School sports programs and the Northville High School Booster Club. She helped 2 different sports raise well over $50,000 in a 3 year period. In addition, as Golf Outing/Silent Auction Chair of Northville High School Booster Club's biggest annual fundraiser, Carrie and her committee brought in just under $100,000 from 2011 - 2013, breaking a new profit record each year. All of the monies raised went directly to the student athletes at Northville High School. In the fall of 2014, Carrie went from the "Diva of Volunteering" to the "Diva of Nothing" as her youngest son followed his big brother into the college world at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. David C. McKnight approached Carrie in early 2014 with the proposition of joining the KIDSgala board. After explaining the purpose and the mission of KIDSgala and realizing her volunteering duties as they related to her sons were soon going to be non-existent, she accepted the offer with open arms. And as Carrie will tell you, it is by far the best decision she has ever made. And one of the most rewarding. She was brought to tears after the first KIDSgala recipient, an adorable little boy named Mighty Max, born with Down Syndrome and currently battling leukemia, gave her a big hug at the end of his celebration in November 2014. Max's hug is what will keep the fire and passion burning in Carrie as the KIDSgala board continues on with its mission. Carrie and her husband, Don, enjoy traveling and attending Michigan football games with their sons. Trey, Carrie's oldest, graduated from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in May 2015, has passed the CPA exam and is now working at Ernst & Young in Chicago. Carrie's younger son, Jake, is also attending the University of Michigan and is in the School of Kinesiology. He will be a junior in the Fall of 2016.
Kimberly Britt
Kimberly Britt is a proud graduate of Michigan State University. It was there that her lifelong dream of serving in the medical field was realized. The Nursing program offered her the opportunities to a rewarding and enduring career path. Kimberly graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which provided her the opportunity to join the staff at the Detroit Medical Center in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Harper Hospital. Taking care of the high acuity critically ill patients sparked her desire to advance her education. She accepted full time enrollment into the Nurse Anesthesia program at Wayne State University and two years later received a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. Continuing her employment with the Detroit Medical Center, Kimberly provided care in the Surgical Suites at Hutzel Women’s Hospital. She enjoyed an emphasis in regional anesthesia as it pertained to labor and delivery. Those experiences in maternal anesthesia led to her aspiration to present the Obstetrical Anesthesia didactic curriculum in the Wayne State University Nurse Anesthesia Master’s Program. She enjoyed lecturing for the next 14 years while working with individual students in the clinical setting. That background paved the way for her to assist students in applying the didactic component with the individual needs of each patient undergoing anesthesia. In 2013, Kimberly’s longtime friendship with David C. McKnight and Shelly Burton brought her to KIDSgala. Shelly and Jim’s love and dedication to their daughter Nicole and the struggles they all endured proved an inspiration to her. Coalescing her years in medicine and the compassion one feels from working with children battling diseases or congenital medical problems compelled Kimberly to get involved with KIDSgala. Her experiences have taught her children need to feel the joy of simple things such as birthday parties with friends, attending sports events and reveling in school functions. KIDSgala brings joy and happiness to children who have or are currently enduring a life-altering event with an individualized celebration. Seeing the happiness these celebrations bring to the children and their families is why Kimberly is very proud to be a board member of this dedicated organization.
Erinn O’Connor
Erinn O'Connor is currently The President and owner of The O'Connor Group, an executive search firm that specializes in placing top talent with great companies mainly in the Metro Detroit Area. The O'Connor Group celebrated it's 18th year this year and is headquartered in Lake Orion, Michigan. Erinn has been actively recruiting in the staffing business for 26 years. She has three children ages are 28, 18 and soon to be 8. Erinn joined the KIDSgala family in 2016.
Sandra Hughes O’Brien
Sandy Hughes O’Brien serves as legal counsel to the President and Chairman of the KIDSgala Board of Directors. In this capacity, she advises on corporate governance, nonprofit law, tax matters and best practices for nonprofits. Sandy is also a devoted public servant, elected to serve an eight-year term on the Wayne State University’s Board of Governors in 2012. She is the first person of Latino heritage to be elected statewide to the Wayne State University Board of Governors. Sandy currently serves as the Deputy County Clerk and Register of Deeds for Oakland County. She is an active member of the Michigan Bar Association and several professional organizations and speaks frequently on the topic of women and minorities in law careers. Sandy is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences related to education, empowerment and inclusion. She serves on numerous community boards and committees. She is a graduate of the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University (J.D., cum laude, 1998) and received her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University. Sandy grew up in West Michigan and now resides in Northville with her husband, Barrie, their three children, Faelan, Fiona, and Rory; and their dog, Lola.
Kathleen Reid
Bio coming soon!
Dorothy Kinnunen
Dorothy Kinnunen is a self-employed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She graduated with a BSA from the University of Michigan – Dearborn with a double major in accounting and finance in 1994. Dorothy has spent most of her career in industry as a controller, the most recent being a $160 million company nationwide. She left industry 3 years ago, to start her own company providing accounting to small businesses and individual tax preparation to a limited number of clients. Dorothy was treasurer of her own non-profit for over five years, raising over $100,000 for breast cancer and providing funds to organizations that assisted with out of pocket costs for those men and woman suffering from breast cancer. Dorothy is married to Craig, who has been an engineer at Detroit Diesel for 20 years. They have three kids, the oldest of which is a member of the Army National Guard, the middle which is currently a part time student at Livingston County Community College seeking a career in engineering, and the youngest who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Psychology at Central Michigan University. Dorothy was introduced to KIDSgala by David McKnight when he requested her assistance with the accounting. She has volunteered her time for over a year now as the treasurer and enjoys being part of an organization providing smiles and joy to children in need.
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FOUNDED IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Nicole Marie Burton
A foundation created in the memory of Nicole Marie Burton, to provide a gifted celebration to children who have or are battling a life altering event. KIDSgala is dedicated to hosting events that will individually celebrate each child’s life achievements…
(248) 886-0631