Joedance Film Festival Board of Directors

Diane Restaino, Founder/President

Diane Restaino is the Founder and President of Joedance Film Festival. After earning a B.S. from Iowa State University, Diane spent 15 years as an executive in the broadcast industry. Diane has held board positions at the Episcopal School of Knoxville and the Family Advisory Council at the Atrium Health Levine Children’s. She is a current member of the Board of Ambassadors, Cancer Champions at Levine Children’s and Coalition Against Childhood Cancer.

Joedance Film Festival was founded by Diane and her family in 2010 in memory of their oldest son, Joe. They combined their family’s love of films with the science of cancer research to create a very unique foundation. The mission of the foundation is to raise funds for rare pediatric cancer research at Levine Children’s.

Under the leadership of Diane, $170,000 has been donated to Atrium Health Levine Children’s which has funded the following programs:

In 2014 funded a summer internship to introduce Healios, a flavored liquid nutrient to lessen the severity of mouth sores. This is now part of every child’s protocol diagnosed with cancer. Funded, along with Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the Isabella Santos Foundation, a clinical trial for recurrent osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at Atrium Health Levine Children’s. Fourteen other hospitals in the country have enrolled in the trial. In 2018 our second paid intern compiled data on the results of inpatient vs. outpatient treatments.

Going on five years, Joedance has partnered with Modern Salon and Spa for “Spa Days” at Levine Children’s Hospital for the parents of long term stay patients.

Diane and her husband, Mike Restaino have three sons; Joe, who passed away in 2010, and identical twins Tony and David. When Diane is not working on Joedance, she loves to travel with her family, and of course, enjoys taking in a movie and going to the theater.

Al Mcmillian Jr, Board Chair

Alfonso (Al) McMillian, Jr. has practiced business law in Charlotte since 2001 and has over 20 years of business law experience as a large law firm M&A attorney, a Fortune 100 legal department executive, and an advisor to senior management at corporations, technology joint ventures and emerging businesses. Al combines legal skills, business acumen and transactions experience to provide trusted counsel to his clients. He has experience in several industries, including financial services, energy and technology. Al earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law (1993) and his B.A. from Wake Forest University (1984).

In the past, Al has served on the Boards of Trinity Episcopal School, The Mint Museums, Queen City Forward and The Morehead Forum. He currently serves on the Boards of The Saint Peter’s Hospital Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, NC Chapter.

Al and his spouse, Sydney Burgess, have four children: Virginia, Cullen, Tait and Rebekah. Hiking, fly fishing and oil painting comprise some of Al’s other activities.

Professional Accomplishments:

• VP, Head of Compliance, AvidXchange, Inc.
• Chief Administrative Officer, clearXchange, LLC (now, Zelle)
• Senior Compliance Director, Ally Financial, Technology & Operations
• Associate General Counsel, Bank of America; Global Supply Chain, Global
Technology & Operations

Will Thompson, Vice Chairman

Will Thompson was introduced to Joedance in September 2018 and became a board member 2 months later in November. Will’s interest in non-profit and passion to help people stems from his mother who runs her own non-profit (Welcome Table) and is involved with other community organizations. Joining an organization centered around pediatric cancer research has always been of interest to Will as his own family has experienced passing’s as a result of neuroblastoma.

Will was born and raised in Rutherfordton, NC and received his B.A. in Economics from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012. He started his career as a financial advisor in 2015 when he joined AXA Advisors in Charlotte. He really enjoys the work he does for his clients because of the impact it has on their lives. In March 2019, he was awarded the 2018 AXA Advisors Junior Advisor of the year for the Carolinas Region, which recognizes the top performing advisor in their first 4 years.

Will is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with his family, friends and especially his fiancé Rachel, whom he will marry in May 2020 in Destin, Florida.

Matt Mildenberg, Treasurer

Matt and Joe both attended McCallie and the University of Pennsylvania and he has been a long time supporter of Joedance, including in his current role as Treasurer. He graduated from Penn in 2012 and KenanFlagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018. He works for Five Points Capital in Winston-Salem, NC.

Kelly Crum, Secretary

Building upon a background in admissions, marketing, and writing, Kelly Crum established KC Educational Consulting, an independent educational consulting practice, in 2017 to assist students and parents in the college admission process. In addition, she works for Charlotte Preparatory School, where she serves as Communications Manager, handling social media.

Previously, Kelly served as Director of Communication for Raycom Management Group, a division of Raycom Sports. Subsequently, she formed her own company, Full Court Management, specializing in public relations and marketing. Clients included the Charlotte Wine and Food Weekend, the 600 Festival, the Southern Police Institute, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and the Local Organizing Committee for the Final Four in Charlotte.

Her background also includes stints as Admissions Assistant at Charlotte Preparatory School and Strategic Marketing Manager at Viridian Marketing. She attended Ohio University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sports administration

She and her husband Mike have three sons–John, Owen and Ryan.

Joedance Film Festival Directors

Ben is a North Carolina native and a resident of Charlotte since 1992 (and 4th Ward since 1995). He is actively involved in both local residential real estate and corporate meeting planning and facilitation.  He has also been involved with the rehab of several historic properties into mixed-use purposes. In his spare time, Ben is an avid amateur chef and enjoys entertaining for friends.

Greg Johnson is currently the principal at Simonton Consulting Services, a small firm helping clients with business planning, organizational effectiveness and process efficiency. This firm is focused on helping small companies who are making a positive social impact in their community.

Before starting that firm Greg supported the planning and creation of a major sustainability project called “Step Up and Power Down” for PG&E; he went on to serve as program advisor for two years. He led the Engagement Manager team helping PG&E largest customers take advantage of all the program offered in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Before that move to California, Johnson was the Program Director in North Carolina for a precursor project called “Envision Charlotte.”

Prior to joining Envision Charlotte Johnson worked for fifteen years in the Corporate Real Estate department of Bank of America and led various teams: portfolio management, process excellence, strategic planning, project management and relationship management. For the last five years Johnson led the global operations team for Bank of America’s portfolio and created its sustainability program.

Johnson has a BA in History from William and Mary and an MBA from the University of Virginia. He is currently on the Board of Directors for Samaritan House. He served as President of the Mecklenburg Board of the American Cancer Society for two years, and was President of Friends of Fourth Ward for two years, and served on numerous committees for those organizations and for Charlotte Center City Partners.

David is Joe’s brother and founding family member of Joedance Film Festival.

David is a graduate from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and is currently working on his MFA at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. He has held internship positions with the Internal Governmental Affairs supporting the Democratic National Convention, taught English as a second language and Teaching Assistant at the University of East Anglia.  He is a published poet, recently winning first place in a poetry contest and is listed in Who’s Who for International Poets. David also serves as the Joedance Film Festival speech writer.

Stuart Ruffin serves as Deputy Director of the North Carolina Military Foundation, a private economic development group established in 2006 by the NC Governor to grow the state’s $66 billion defense economy. In that capacity, he leverages a board of corporate executives and recently retired 3- & 4-star general officers to broker deals between industry, government, military, and academia that solve critical defense needs and create new long-term investment in NC.

Ruffin received his B.A. in political science, including minors in economics and Middle Eastern studies from North Carolina State University. He spent the summer of 2010 studying abroad in Egypt, and, in 2013, earned a Masters in International Studies from NC State University, writing his capstone on the efficacy of funding economic development efforts in Egypt through loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Ruffin currently resides in Charlotte, NC. In his spare time, he serves on the Steering Committee of NC4ME (North Carolina’s public-private partnership supporting military employment) and assists the Foreign Area Officer Association’s quarterly Journal of International Affairs in a variety of ways, including by contributing book reviews.

Tony is Joe’s brother and founding family member of Joedance Film Festival.

Tony, a MD PhD candidate at the University of South Dakota, holds an undergraduate degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Medical Sciences from Boston University.  He has worked on leukemia research at the de Jong Laboratory at the University of Chicago and PTSD research at the Veteran’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Steve Shifton-Martin has worked in Fashion Design and Design Management for the past 35 years. He worked for 18 years as a Designer and Director of Design for various New York Apparel companies before creating and growing retail design departments at; Jacobson’s (Jackson, MI), The May Company (St. Louis, MO), Marshall Field’s (Minneapolis, MN), and most recently Belk Store Services. Under his leadership he was able to grow total businesses from $100M to over $1B in sales.  Steve has served on the Board of Directors for: The Farewell to Summer Party- benefiting RAIN and Time Out Youth, The Charlotte Good Neighbor Fund, and was a founding co-leader for the Belk LGBTA affinity group; Belk Pride.  Steve holds a BS in Fine Art from The College at Brockport (SUNY) and a degree in Fashion Design from FIT in New York City.  He and his husband Fred Martin have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels- Rusty and Mojo and enjoy traveling, skiing in Park City, walking the greenways, and volunteering in Charlotte.

Co-Founder of Stack 3 Productions, Chip is originally from North Myrtle Beach, SC and is the younger brother of Wheel of Fortune’s famous letter turner, Vanna White. He has more than 30 years of experience in the film and TV business. Chip moved to LA in the early 80’s and spent the next 20 years working for some of Hollywood’s biggest companies, including King World, Sony, MTV, Vh1, Nickelodeon, and Discovery. In 2005 he relocated back to the Carolinas where he has produced for SPEED, Fox Sports, Wells Fargo, Coke, and Duke Energy. In 2016 he was a producer on INSP’s feature films Heritage Falls and County Line. He has also produced four of Shea Sizemore’s multi-award winning short film, A Chess Player, My Luchador, Crab Trap and the soon to be released Black Dispatch. Chip continues to produce and develop projects under the Stack 3 banner.

Steven Green attended McCallie and the University of Pennsylvania with Joe and has been involved with Joedance since its inception. Steven graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with a B.A. in English and Cinema Studies, and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2015. Steven is a corporate law associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City. As an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Steven has advised public and private companies in accomplishing fundamental transactions at all stages of corporate existence, from early-round funding to initial public offerings, capital markets transactions, and transformative mergers and acquisitions. From 2015 to 2016, Steven served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sandra S. Ikuta on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Nick was born and raised in western Massachusetts where he received his B.A. at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in Political Science with a concentration on International Relations and Minors in Russian Studies and Psychology (2008).

He worked for MassMutual in Product Compliance from 2008 to 2015. Nick then accepted a job with MetLife in Charlotte, NC and moved here in 2015. He was later part of the spinoff from MetLife and is now on the New Business and Underwriting Innovations team as a Business Procedures Consultant with Brighthouse Financial. His extensive knowledge in product compliance has carved his path in product development and is now guiding efforts in developing industry leading New Business and Underwriting technology applications.

Nick is also a professional DJ who does a substantial amount of charity work with several different organizations (Tailgate for a Cure, Joedance, Guy With Ties, Pride Parade, Make A Wish, Beers & Burpees, etc.). In addition to DJ’ing, Nick also participates as an adaptive athlete with Project Momentum which provides health and fitness training to people with disabilities. He is also a leader in the amputee community here in Charlotte, speaking at several support groups to those who have to overcome of similar challenges with disabilities.

He is also an executive member of Guys With Ties where he coordinates and executes charity events that help charities and sponsors connect to the Charlotte young professional community.

Bert Woodard, a native of Garner, N.C., is a self-employed veteran public relations professional. He co-owned his own company, Next Level Communications, from 2003-2017. Woodard, who holds an M.A. in sports administration and a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is past president of Charlotte Business Guild (now Charlotte LGBT Chamber) and is currently on the boards of Joedance Film Festival and Twelve In Twelve Foundation.

Mollie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been a supporter of Joedance since its conception.  She was an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, Director of Watauga County Child Development Center and National Sales  Director for a Dallas-based clothing company.  Mollie currently serves on the Tenth Street Townhome HOA Board and is very involved in the historical Fourth Ward community.

Nicole George is the owner of Premier Property Solutions, a real estate team associated with Keller Williams Ballantyne Area. They serve individuals, investors and families by providing an unparalleled customer service experience through real estate transactions. Nicole and her team take immense pride in building long-lasting relationships and a vast referral network, filled with strategic vendors and strong partnerships. The highest compliment they can receive is a referral and they strive to make every transaction worthy of those referrals.

She hails from the suburbs of Atlanta. Nicole relocated to Charlotte Metro to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and Operations at Johnson & Wales University. In 2018 she was selected as their Alumni Commencement Speaker, an honor in which she took great pride!

When she isn’t showing properties, attending listing appointments, clocking hours on MLS searching for her client’s dream homes, tailgating with clients or networking, she LOVES to craft homemade greeting cards with her girlfriends. “It is a granny thing”, she says, but it is therapeutic and calming for her, a complete distraction from the real world…..and who doesn’t love a homemade card?!?

Her husband, Jeremy and her love opportunities to stay at home with the dogs, relax by the pool or cook a homemade meal. They are constantly looking forward to the next place to visit, as travel is a HUGE part of their lives. They love meeting new people all around the world and learning the culture, tasting the food, and making the best memories with each other. In between their big trips they love the simple pleasures of living in the amazing city of Charlotte; trying new breweries out with the pups, dining at new restaurants, experiencing new attractions like Top Golf. Nicole lives a VERY BUSY life, yet one that she knows is really blessed. Her natural ability to connect people, her strive to contribute and give back to her community and her determination for success of not only herself but just as importantly those around her, will make her an excellent addition to your board.

Emily Stacks is a native Charlottean who loves her city and is a community advocate.

Stacks attended Providence High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fashion Textile Management and Product Design from North Carolina State University in 2012.  She currently works for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance as the Director of Engagement. She oversees programs, events and member engagement for the regional economic development organization.  Her passions include painting, yoga and spending time with her three sisters.

Emily is an alumna of University of Florida with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism and event management specialization. In 2011, she was hired as a Development Officer for Atrium Health Foundation and raised critical funds for pediatric programs at Levine Children’s. Emily was introduced to Joedance Film Festival through her time at Foundation and has enjoyed being involved in such an impactful event with an incredible cause. In 2015, Emily took on the role of Special Events and Volunteer Manager for Charlotte Ballet planning such events as Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte Gala. Her worlds collided in 2018 when Joedance Film Festival moved to its new home at Charlotte Ballet.

Walter Sanders has lived in Charlotte since 2017.

He has enjoyed a remarkable career that included a variety of corporate work, entrepreneurial ventures, international travel, and brand-building consultancy for profit and non-profit organizations. He has served with distinction on a number of Boards over the decades.

Since retiring and moving to Uptown, he has been involved in a number of key local initiatives. He is on the Board of the Friends of Fourth Ward, a community representative for the Charlotte Mecklenburg New Library Media Lab Committee, active in Sustain Charlotte, TreesCharlotte, and a huge fan of Joedance.

He is married to Sharon Sanders, a former food journalist, cookbook author, and Certified Culinary Professional. Sharon and Walter met in Florence, Italy in 1974 and married there in 1978. They continue to enjoy international travel, good food, friends, and family. They are the proud parents of two grown daughters.