Connect To Greatness
Meet The Board

Find Out What We Are All About

Kurt Valmond

Board Chair

Kurt Valmond is currently the Vice-President and Regional Business Banking Manager for Amtrust Bank, A Division of New York Community Bank based in Boca Raton Florida. Mr. Valmond oversees the banks business relationships for the Florida portfolio of branches which stretches from Port St. Lucie to Coral Gables, Naples and Estero. Mr. Valmond is a 20 year banker in South Florida beginning his careers at First Union/Wachovia then moving on to Amtrust/NYCB where he has been for the past 14 years. Mr. Valmond also volunteered with Boca Helping Hands, and finally stepped down from the Board after 15 years. Mr. Valmond holds a degree in Finance from Florida Atlantic University.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

"The impact C2G is having in helping these young boys in the self-realization of their behavior, attitudes and relationships so that they can become proudly productive in the future comes at a critical turning point in their lives. Though the organization was started only about three years ago, its program offering is robust, and it not only focuses on the youngsters, but also on the entire family unit. I am thrilled to be part of C2G and look forward to helping advance its mission." ~ Kurt Valmond, Board Chair

Cassondra Corbin-Thaddies


Cassondra Corbin-Thaddies is a versatile leader with 21 years of progressive management experience leading and directing projects from inception to launch. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota, with a double major, Sociology and Technical Communications. She also has a Masters of Arts Degree in Health & Human Services Administration, St. Mary’s, University of Minnesota.

As Director of Professional Learning at McGraw-Hill Education and in partnership with Stanford University, she works directly with district and school leaders to assess and support their digital curriculum and Blended Learning vision and goals to create 21st century classrooms. This includes providing professional development and ongoing support to school leaders on Blended Learning implementation strategies and coaching sessions with teachers on technology integration. She is most passionate about her position as a mother of two amazing boys who attend Florida A& M University.

James “Andre” Thaddies

Vice President

James “Andre” Thaddies was born and raised in Delray Beach, Florida. He is a graduate of Atlantic Community High School. He attended college at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN on a football scholarship and completed college with a Bachleors of Arts Degree in Sociology. He lived in Minneapolis for 15 years where he met his wife, Cassondra Thaddies. They have two sons, James Andre Jr. and Quentin Myles. Andre moved back to Florida with his family in 2001.

Andre currently works as the OAG (Office of Attorney General) Manager at the Urban League of Palm Beach County. He has 22 years of experience and knowledge working with youth and families. The extent of his experience has ranged from public schools, social services, law enforcement agencies, and coaching. Over the years, his diverse trainings has allowed him the opportunity to keep up with the most relevant trends in counseling, public speaking, law enforcement, and program development. His passion for coaching high school football and track extends over 24 years. He remains as passionate today as he was the first day he coached young athletes. His ability to reach youth has allowed him to help in the personal lives of his players as well as supporting them to reach their college dreams. He has coached football since 1993. He has worked with and coached over 65 athletes to go on and participate in collegiate athletics. Andre currently serves as the Defensive Coordinator at Atlantic High School.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“As a Co Founding member on Connect to Greatness Inc, I wanted to be a part of the Board to ensure that the mission of empowering African American boys pursue their dreams. As a Board Member, I have the opportunity to help grow this organization into a leader that sets the bar for all Mentoring Programs.”
- Andre Thaddies, Board VP 

Andrea Smith-Thomas 

Board Director

Andrea Smith-Thomas is a Floridian native who is educated in the Palm Beach County Public School System, and a Math Teacher veteran of 27 years in the Public School system. Also, a mother of two sons, she has always been active in their lives; both who are currently college students. Andrea feels that it is very important to help our youth develop. The development of our youth socially, mentally, and spiritually is a vital ingredient to the success of their lives. Our youth are the future. She gains much joy and excitement in sharing in the process of molding our Future!

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“I have chosen to be a part of C2G so that I can be a part of the foundation of our young African American males. Being a part of our young males’ foundation is “shaping our future.” I also desire to help the mothers of our young males cope with raising a young African American male, in these turbulent times.” ~Andrea Smith-Thomas,Board Director 

Ricky Petty

Board Director

Ricky Petty is the Project Director for Healthier Boynton Beach. His mission is to improve health outcomes for family caregivers in the heart of the Boynton Beach community. Since receiving his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Bethune-Cookman University in 2002, Mr. Petty has had broad work experience with children and families. Mr. Petty has a passion for working with youth and improving his community. He is a mentor, life skills coach and motivational speaker to teens and young adults. He embraces youth and inspire them to modify their lifestyles to have positive results in their life as they make decisions. His goal and life mission is to add value to others and he is always engaged and involved in his community to make a positive impact.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“I chose to be a part of Connect to Greatness because I believe strongly in their mission and vision. African American boys face many challenges and obstacles in their adolescences years and Connect to Greatness provides an avenue to help them overcome many of these challenges. It's great to be a part of an organization that share the same passion to improves the lives of our young people.” ~Ricky Petty, Board Director

Yolanda Mondy 

Board Finance Director

Yolanda Mondy attended The Ohio State University and graduated from Kaplan University with honors. She has been in banking for more than 15 years and has been a branch supervisor for 7 years. She is continuously learning about African American History and has recently discovered a passion for her banks Diversity and Inclusion programs. The banks Diversity and Inclusion Programs, has allowed Yolanda to learn not only about other cultures, but also to show the pride within her own. Serving as a Board member with Connect to Greatness, would further Yolanda’s belief that if we show our youth love, encouragement, skills, and reasons to be proud of their history, they will find the motivation necessary to excel personally and professionally. Our youth cannot understand where they are going if they don't understand where they came from.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“So often our youth are simply expected to be book smart, that there is not enough done to prepare them for life and adversity. I became a part of this organization because I know how important it is to prepare our young men for what lies in their future.” ~Yolanda Mondy, Board Finance Director 

Pam Owens 


Pam Owens is a native of the Bronx, NY. She attended Stony Brook - a State Univ of NY, receiving an Electrical Engineering degree. After graduation, she relocated and worked in MN for many years, early in her career, and attended graduate school at the Univ of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, receiving a Masters in Software Engineering. She relocated to FL in 1995 and married her husband Michael the same year, from the Bronx as well. Pam is in the IT industry for 25+ years now as a Senior Analyst; an Adjunct Professor for 10+ and 18+ as a Registered Representative helping families and small businesses with financial literacy, services and guidance. Pam and her husband have two children, 16 year old daughter and 19 year old son. Their son is a sophomore with the Air Force Academy in CO. They love traveling and spending time with them. Pam loves to constantly learn and help to give back and empower people wherever she can.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“I have chosen to participate with Connect to Greatness to help give back to our community because I feel this organization has impact to change how our young black boys see themselves because of typical stereotyping, etc, thrust on them. This organization helps break that cycle to show our young men that they can be anything they'd like to be, like anyone else, despite if some parts of society try to state otherwise. The exposure to different topics and activities that Connect To Greatness offers are key for them to experience.” ~Pam Owens, Board Treasurer

Ingrid Evans 

Parent Liaison

Ingrid Evans is a Detroit, Michigan native. Now, in Florida Ingrid serves as the Lead Activities Counselor at Achievement Center for Children and Families, North Campus. She and her husband of 25 years are both United States Marine Corps Gulf War Veterans. They have four sons, one daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. Ingrid received her Associates of Science at Palm Beach State College in Early Childhood Education with a certificate in Childcare Center Management. She has always loved children and have been working professionally with children (ages 0 – 12) for six years. As parent liaison for Connect to Greatness, Ingrid oversees the Women of Boys Empowerment Series which supports the women/caregivers of the boys in the Boys to Men Leadership Academy to become advocates and leaders in the community.

Bennie Barnes

Immediate Past Board Chair

Bennie Barnes is an attorney, mediator, diversity trainer, facilitator, consultant, and former adjunct professor with over 25 years of experience facilitating dialogue, building consensus around difficult issues, and developing “win-win” solutions. He is skilled in the use of the facilitative, evaluative, and transformative models of mediation as well as basic and developmental group facilitation. His area of specialization is workplace disputes, with an emphasis on systemic organizational conflict and discrimination. Mr. Barnes received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Spanish from Rice University, a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Seattle University School of Law, and a Master of Science degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University.

Why I chose to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member.

“I have chosen to be a Connect to Greatness, Inc. Board Member because I believe in the organization’s mission and want to actively contribute to its realization. I know first-hand the unique emotional, social, and academic challenges that young Black males face in our society, and this organization is well-suited to address these challenges in an inspiring, pragmatic, and meaningful way.” ~Bennie Barnes, Board Chair 2017-2019

Volunteer With Us

Are you passionate about ensuring the emotional, social, psychological, and academic well-being of our African-American/Black Boys? Click "I Am In" to sign up as a volunteer with Connect to Greatness, Inc. today!

Our Sponsors & Partners

In partnership, we can connect your organization's desire to be apart of real community change with opportunities that directly impact our most under-resourced youth on their journey to become change makers in the world. Learn more.

Healthier Boynton Beach
City of Boynton
Women's Foundation of Florida
Mental Health America of Palm Beach County
Subtle Distinctions

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