At Thistle Farms’ inception, Marlei joined as a dedicated volunteer. Twenty years later, as PR & Development Director, she manages fundraising as well as donor and media relations, which for her all come back to practicing gratitude for this community and sharing it with others. She credits the Thistle Farms circle—residents, staff, interns, and supporters alike—with teaching her about resilience, forgiveness, and love. After all these years, her happy place continues to be Thistle Farms (though enjoying some dark chocolate or wandering a beautiful garden vie for a close second).
As Director of Magdalene, Sara oversees all Thistle Farms residents’ healing and growth through the course of their two years in the program. She loves supporting residents as they problem solve and learn new skills and encouraging them as their independence develops (not to mention contributing to the success of Thistle Farms Body & Home by stocking up on her favorite Citrus Wood-scented products!). Though this water-lover lives in land-locked Tennessee, when she is home in the Bahamas or in Florida you will find Sara snorkeling, on a boat ride, or salt-water fishing.
Since 2010, Jim has helped to oversee the ever-growing and evolving manufacturing, purchasing, product development, event packing, shipping and logistics operations of the organization. He deals with a lot of details, but his favorite part of the job is seeing the achievements—both small and large—that his survivor-leader coworkers make in their work and their personal lives. When the demands of the day-to-day mount, Jim seeks peace and quiet in the Japanese garden at Cheekwood or by settling in at home with a good book (make it historical fiction) or a new recipe (all the better if it includes bacon!).
A Magdalene graduate and veteran Thistle Farmer—a team member since 2005—Tracey is responsible for product quality control, ensuring a consistently beautiful experience with every product, for every customer. A natural leader, Tracey provides direction and support for new employees and loves watching her colleagues grow and gain independence. Her wide smile is well-known and loved around Thistle Farms, and it’s especially likely to appear when she’s talking about or spending time with her family, or pampering herself with her favorite new products: our Enriching Body Lotion and Nourishing Body Butter in Citrus Wood scent!
Movie-lover and explorer (and Thistle Farms Healing Oils super fan!) Suzanne has led the whip-smart Marketing team at Thistle Farms since February of 2017. Her knack for storytelling, connection, and relationship-building ensures that supporters see Thistle Farms’ mission shine through every product we produce. While she loves to spend an evening at home playing with her kids or around a campfire with friends, she is also always up for a night out dancing (we’re working on getting her to show off those skills at the office…).
Thistle Farms graduate and resident fashionista LaTisha finds great joy in completing a task swiftly and with precision – a skill that comes in handy as she ensures beautifully packaged orders are delivered to your door soon after you make a purchase. After a full day of packing orders, you might find LaTisha enjoying time with her son in one of Nashville’s parks, or even indulging in some relaxation over her favorite peach cobbler and gospel music (and, okay, maybe a reality show or two).
A hula-hooper extraordinaire, Courtney began at Thistle Farms as a volunteer in 2012. With her love of coffee and avocado toast, it seems she was destined for work in a café. As she oversees the inner workings of The Café at Thistle Farms—“truly my dream job,” she says—Courtney finds strength in the laughter, tears, and growth of the incredible women of Team Café and gains energy by turning up Michael Jackson hits in the kitchen. When not at work, Courtney loves to spend time with her husband, baby daughter, and their labradoodle and to explore the ever-growing Nashville restaurant scene.
If you hope to carry Thistle Farms products in your store, you’ll have the good fortune to work directly with Katrina. A 2006 graduate of Thistle Farms’ residential program, Magdalene, Katrina has been in charge of the company’s wholesale accounts since 2007. Katrina’s long history with the organization and her nurturing personality make her an incredible support not only for customers, but for all her sisters at Thistle Farms. Her hospitality extends to her home life, too, where she can often be found hosting a barbeque or fish fry on her back deck, feeding and celebrating friends and family.
Thistle Farms’ fearless leader since 2015 (and evangelist for our new Cooling Shave Gel), Hal embraces the ever-changing nature of his day-to-day role as CEO. Whether leading a board meeting, weighing in on product development, getting to know new women at one of our residences, or driving the mission in any number of other ways, Hal keeps his eyes on the end goal: healing and employing survivors. While a fast Wi-Fi connection makes his list of “things I can’t live without,” it’s the simple things in life—long walks, good books, an eclectic playlist, cooking—that keep him happy and well.
Hal is uniquely qualified to address both the mission and the business of Thistle Farms given his extensive experience in the nonprofit and private sector, which includes founding Hands on Nashville, The Youth Opportunity Center, The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, and Zeumo, his latest technology company, as well as serving as CEO of Oasis Center from 2001–2011.
After volunteering for 10 years, Melissa joined Thistle Farms’ staff in August of 2014. Melissa is keeps things running smoothly and is responsible for implementing complex inventory management systems that begin with the reception of raw materials and end with the shipment of finished goods. Her patient nature—developed during her years as a classroom teacher—makes her a go-to for training and problem-solving. Her love of nature has led to an impressive collection of bird feathers and heart-shaped rocks, as well as a very authentic owl call (she’s had some lovely conversations with the owls at Percy Warner!).
Long-time Thistle Farmer Holli has been working with the organization since 2001. Each day, she opens her door and offers generous support to everyone at Thistle Farms (and gives herself a little daily TLC with the help of our Tea Tree Mint Soothing Body Balm). Holli keeps the place running, overseeing human resources, company policies, and accounting procedures. But don’t let the job description fool you; her days at Thistle are full of laughter and excitement. A woman of many talents, Holli enjoys kickboxing and yoga, and fits right in to Music City as a professional harpist.
As Education & Outreach director, nothing makes Kat happier than to see a sister organization purchase its first residential home – a physical marker of the way that the “Love Heals” message is spreading across the country and world. Since she began in 2015, Kat has been helping to educate, engage, and empower individuals and organizations that wish to join and spread Thistle Farms’ mission. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll likely find this Nashville native running the roads and trails of Percy Warner Park or reading a morning newspaper to stay current on local and national policy.