Board of Directors

Julie Childs, Chair (Attorney, McLain & Merritt, PC)

Julie Childs retired from the law firm of McLain & Merritt, P.C. in Atlanta, and has practiced in the area of estate planning since 1986.

Julie received her BA and law degrees from the University of Georgia. Growing up in Decatur, Georgia, she attended Decatur High School.

Her civic commitments include participation in and numerous leadership positions at Decatur First United Methodist Church, active membership in the DeKalb Junior League from 1982 – 1992, serving on the board of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, the board of Wesley Woods Home, Inc., currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, and serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of Breakthru House, Inc., from 2013-current.

Gordon Barber, Director (Retired)

T. Gordon Barber is a retired ATT Executive with 41 years of experience in Network Operations. He is owner and manager of Barber Properties. Gordon grew up in Hendersonville, NC, graduated from The Citadel, and earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland. He was an Army officer and served in Okinawa.

Currently, he volunteers at North Fulton Community Charity, Habitat for Humanity, BEATS hippo therapy, and is a member of the Disaster Recovery Team at Alpharetta Methodist Church. Gordon and his wife, Karen, live in Milton and have three adult sons and two grandchildren.

Suzanne Savarese, Treasurer

Suzanne Savaerse is a Certified Public Accountant with 14 years of experience in the accounting field. After graduating from Clemson University, she worked in public accounting. Later, she transitioned to the private sector where she has served in various leadership roles.

Joseph E Brown, Jr. (Retired)

Joseph (Joe) E. Brown, Jr., has been a Board member since the 1980’s. His father was an original founder/supporter of Breakthru House Inc., when it was founded at St. Mark UMC in 1969. Joe has worked at Courts & Co., a regional brokerage firm from 1961-1972, Atlanta Federal Savings & Loan, that became Georgia Federal Bank from 1972-1987, and finally with his wife’s State Farm Insurance agency for 20 years until retirement. Joseph has witnessed not only the incredible growth and progress of Breakthru House, but also the transformative changes in the lives of many women who have become whole again due to the love and support they received while residing on campus and completing the Breakthru House recovery program.

Nancy Young, Development Chair (Georgia United Methodist Church)

Nancy Young serves as Vice President of Development for the Georgia United Methodist Foundation (GUMF). She brings over 35 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of fundraising, major donor development, training, special events, planned giving, and facilities management.

Prior to joining GUMF, Nancy served as Vice President of Development for Action Ministries. She began her career in development while serving as the Executive Director of the YWCA of New Britain, Connecticut.

June D. McKenzie

June D. McKenzie has been married for 31 years and resides in Conyers, Ga. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Political Science in, 1987.

While June’s husband played professional football in Arizona and Canada, she continued her education at Pepperdine Law School, earning JD, Certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in May 1993.

In June 1994, June moved to Green Bay where her husband accepted a position to play with the Green Bay Packers and she was sworn into the WI Bar a month later. Mrs. McKenzie went on to open a law office specializing in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Juvenile Defense, and Adoptions.
June and Reginald have two adult daughters and an adult son.

Vanessa Nelson

Vanessa Nelson has served as the Chief Wife Officer and Business Manager of the Nelson family since she returned home from working as a Pharmacy Manager at United Health Care for 11 years. In 2003, she became a stay at home mom to her two sons who have since graduated college. She is married to her husband of 32 years, Lawrence Nelson, Owner/CEO of Lang Restoration and Construction. Vanessa was born in Inkster, Michigan, and now lives in the Smoke Rise Community where they have resided for the last 20 years.

Vanessa Nelson graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BBA in Business Management. She is a member of Victory World Church in Norcross, GA. Vanessa serves as an Ambassador and Donor for Livvy’s Love, Inc., and is a Volunteer and Donor for the Marquis Grissom Baseball Association.