National Board

Sam Safrit

Sam Safrit, Chairman of the Board
A native of North Carolina, Sam Safrit served as a non-commissioned officer in Airborne and Special Forces units in Germany and Alaska from 1958-1962.  He went on to build a career directing Research and Development units for several Fortune 500 companies and later joined his wife, Anne, in supporting Newborns in Need post-retirement.  Every baby, every person, deserves a chance at freedom and opportunity – a theme that guides Sam’s life.

Connie-Ediwards

Connie Edwards — National President
A marketing manager at Hanesbrands, Inc, Connie began her association with NIN after her first child was born prematurely.   Months of traveling back and forth to NICU, she observed many new mother’s who did not have the resources to handle the stress of babies being born into difficult health situations.  Knowing she was lucky to have such a great support system, she started the first North Carolina Chapter of NIN and, in 2007, she became the National President.  Married with two sons, Connie’s passion as a NIN volunteer continues to be an important part of her life.

Gayle-McKeethan

Gayle McKeethanExecutive Director
Gayle began her involvement with NIN when she opened a chapter in East Tennessee in 2008.  Having suffered a stillborn baby in 1980, she felt the NIN organization was a perfect fit.  She later joined the National Board as Vice President and currently is the Executive Director.  Gayle has a lot of passion for NIN.  She lives in Tennessee with her husband.  She has three children, two stepsons, and 13 grandchildren.  She takes great joy in volunteering for the babies.

Pat White

Pat WhiteNational Secretary
Pat White retired in 2002 from Sara Lee Hosiery (now Hanesbrands, Inc.) as Purchasing Manager.  She began volunteering with NIN when Connie Edwards formed the first NIN chapter in NC in 2000.  Upon retirement, Pat became the local NIN chapter President to share her passion for helping others and also to use her sewing and crocheting talents. She retired as Chapter President in 2010; however, Pat continues to be actively involved with the Winston-Salem Chapter and National Board. Pat is married, the mother of two adult children and the proud grandmother of four.

Cookie Williams-DykesDirector of Community Relations
Cherisha “Cookie” Williams-Dykes loves serving her community and giving to others. She is an active member of the United Way Young Leaders United Association, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority incorporated and a devoted wife & mother of 2 boys ages 16 and 11.  Prior to remarrying in 2013, Cookie was a single parent for more than 10 years. Understanding the needs of a young mother and young children, is her drive in giving back to her community.  Cookie joins the NIN family with an extensive history of volunteering experience.

Maria Carter Willeby – Board Member
Maria Carter Willeby served in the USAF for 8 years, was the editor of a local newspaper and worked for the State of Oklahoma for the last 10 years.  She has been the OK City Chapter Director for NIN since 2010, blessed with approximately 40 caring volunteers, in different communities surrounding the OK City metro.  “We deliver handmade newborn, preemie and bereavement items to 12 hospitals, pregnancy centers and local agencies.  Illness left me with plenty of time on my hands, to sew, knit and crochet… do what you can, where you are, with what you’ve got…  Caring for the babies and the mothers in need touches my heart, having been there myself.  The diaper bags full of useful, practical items fills them with joy and relief that you can see in their eyes.”  Maria is retired with her husband, enjoying long visits from their children and grandchildren.”

Mary Swanson

Mary SwansonBusiness Office Manager
Mary has been an important part of NIN since 2002.  Mary manages the business office, which includes:  Overseeing chapter banking activities, state registrations, answering chapter questions, and keeping the national board informed of day-to-day activities.  NIN runs smoothly because of her dedication.  “It’s amazing how it all works.  We give out 50 items and get 150 in return.  It’s wonderful to watch how God works his miracles!”

Jenn Doherty

Jenn DohertyDirector of Social Media
Jennifer has been part of the NIN team since 2011.  Married, Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her husband, where they both run the Holly Web Series Festival.  Jennifer joined the NIN cause to bring more awareness to the wonderful work done by all of the chapters and volunteers, and hopes to bring in many new supporters through social media channels.