SMILE is currently run by the extremely dedicated members of the Board of Directors and volunteer staff.

Kristen Mantlo, Ph.D. MSS (MSW)

I never thought I'd become a social worker, let alone a founder and the Executive Director of a nonprofit.


I went to James Madison University planning to become a writer, either a novelist or journalist. All that changed (along with my major a few times) when I met a social worker at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. She opened my eyes to the social work profession, as well as program management, and research.

While in college I came home almost weekly to visit my sister Samantha (yes, THE 'Samantha' in Samantha Makes It a Little Easier) while she was going through cancer treatment. For four years I helped serve as a caregiver and experienced first hand the many challenges a child and their family members experience during various stages of medical care, including the difficulty of funding costly medical equipment. A few days before Sam passed away, she asked me to use the money people raised for her to purchase a quality prosthetic to help children 'like her.' 


After completing my Masters of Social Services (MSW) at Bryn Mawr College outside Philadelphia, PA, I returned to Hampton Roads and worked for an international non-profit while founding SMILE with a fantastic group of women. Since SMILE's founding, I have had the opportunity to complete my PhD in Health Service Research at Old Dominion University, focusing my research on young adult survivors of childhood cancer and late effects. 


I absolutely love my job and am honored to be able to serve such wonderful children and their families. 

Board Members

A dedicated group of community-minded individuals from various professional backgrounds come together to guide SMILE in it's mission.

Joseph Trost, AIA, ACHA, NCARB
Summer Kernan, MPT
Brandon Allred, JD
Thomas Gorman
Vice President
Wayne Pollock, PhD
Katrina Lesher, MD
Courtney Cook, MS

Founding Board Members

Interested in Joining SMILE?


101 West Main Street
Suite 7000

Norfolk, VA 23510


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