Meet Our Team


Annette PattersonPresident
Office: 540-283-7062

Annette Patterson is founder and president of The Advancement Foundation. Prior to establishing The Advancement Foundation, Annette served as Chief Development Officer for Stetson University during a $200 Million Campaign and as Vice President for Institutional Advancement for Salem Academy and College where she led a $75 million campaign. Annette has served as consultant for The Diocese of Richmond and trained over 30 primary and secondary schools in strategic planning and fundraising.


Judy WoodVice President
Office: 540-283-7062

Judy has over 40 years of successful nonprofit experience and leadership management. Her career paths include administration, management, and leading a state and national organization. She met Annette at Salem Academy and College where she was part of a $75m capital campaign. While at Salem, Judy received a BA in Not-for-Profit-Management. In 2006 she began serving on the board of directors for The Advancement Foundation (TAF). She became part-time Director of Development in 2009 and joined TAF full time in 2011 expanding her role to include VISTA Program Supervisor. In 2018 began managing the AmeriCorps State intermediary program throughout Southwest VA.


Kelly Robertson Turner, Director of Special Projects
Office: 540-283-7062

Kelly is a proud graduate of Virginia Western Community College and Mary Baldwin University with degrees in General Studies and Marketing with focus on Business for a Sustainable Future. Kelly has been fascinated by entrepreneurship since she was a child and has been an entrepreneur herself since the age of 18. She is an avid researcher of Holistic Health Sciences, and also studied Mental Health in college and at the Albert Ellis Institute in NYC where she got to meet and learn from the great Dr. Albert Ellis (psychologist and inventor of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). Kelly attributes her positive “can-do” attitude to some of the teachings of Dr. Ellis and hopes to be a proactive leader in our community and a dynamic member of the TAF Staff!


Missy Paxton, Director of Operations
Office: 540-283-7065

Missy Paxton is the Director of Operations for The Advancement Foundation. Prior to coming to The Advancement Foundation, Missy was the Vice President of Operations for a major internet and catalog distribution/fulfillment operation in Roanoke.  Her background includes over 14 years of senior-level management experience directing all aspects of fulfillment/distribution operations, third party client services team operations, and inventory/process management. Missy is also a Roanoke native and a proud graduate of Milligan College (now Milligan University) near Johnson City, Tennessee.

Shannon Dominguez, Director of Business Development
Office: 540-283-7062

Shannon is the Director of Business Development for The Advancement Foundation. In addition to leading the Gauntlet program and competition, she is scaling the Gauntlet to new areas across Virginia. Shannon has a diverse background in planning, finances, human resources, IT and marketing, and has played a leadership role in business development for two law firms. She is eager to distinguish her life by helping to increase the success of others through business development. Shannon is a board member for CHIP of the Roanoke Valley and serves as chair on the legislative affairs committee. In her free time, Shannon enjoys hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, traveling to small towns across Virginia, and creating fun memories with her two beautiful daughters.


Debbie Custer, Innovation Mill Consultant

Debbie Custer has been a disruptor the past 35 years in the food and beverage industry, with a focus on plant based nutraceuticals. As CEO of Coeus Research, she has launched several companies bringing “good for you” brands to the national and international marketplace. She has worked in all aspects of the beverage and food industry to include product, brand and package development. Focusing on plant-based foods with a adaptogen element, Debbie began working with hemp in early 2000.  In 2018, she registered as a grower and processor with Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and currently maintains those registrations. Upon entering the hemp space, she saw a need for the empowerment and education of women in the field.  Women as leaders of the conversation, not onlookers. From sparkling water, wine, craft beer, specialty beverages and now hemp, Debbie enjoys being the disruptor for high growth industries.


Simone Knowles, Associate Director of Innovation Mill

Simone Knowles is a government purchasing and contract consultant to who guides businesses through the process of finding, winning, and managing government contracts.  A graduate of Mary Baldwin University, with a dual business degree emphasis in accounting and sustainability, Simone is the former Purchasing Manager for the City of Roanoke where her focus was on educating and connecting local small businesses with government contracting opportunities.   Simone is the co-founder of the Southwest Virginia Procurement Group Alliance and the Vice President of the Blue Ridge chapter of the National Contract Management Association.  She and her family settled in Roanoke upon her husband’s retirement from the Army, and she can often be found on the Roanoke River greenway taking in the natural beauty of the Roanoke Valley.