Erin co-founded Adoption Support Alliance with Charlie Marquardt in 2014 to fill a void in the services and support available to adoptive families.
Erin’s first experience with adoption came during high school, when her family was living overseas and she decided to volunteer at orphanages in China and Vietnam. She was 15 years old, surrounded by lots of children who needed a home, and she knew she’d found her calling. When she came back to the states, she dedicated her career to helping children and parents build strong, thriving families.
Erin has an undergraduate degree in child development and human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s in social work and certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University. She’s also a licensed clinical social worker and has held a variety of positions related to adoption, including in the foster care system in Tennessee, a nonprofit foster care agency in Georgia and as a clinician at the Alexander Youth Network in Charlotte, N.C. She also conducts home studies through Triangle Adoption Services and produces post-placement reports for families pursuing adoption.
“Adoption is a lifelong commitment that starts when you find your adoptive child. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, that’s when the hard work of building your family begins. When I looked around at the adoption landscape, I realized there were so few resources to help families through that transition. Adoption Support Alliance was created to fill that void,” Erin says. “And it is our mission to help adoptive families through the unique challenges of building their forever families.”
Erin is married to her husband, Ibrahim, and has two biological daughters, Olivia and Audrey.
Rex Backes has more than 20 years of experience in the Human Resources industry, with experience in a variety of functions including Employee Assessment, Leadership Development, Strategic Workforce Planning, and Talent Management. Rex is currently a Director of Talent Management at TIAA in Charlotte, NC. Rex has worked previously at Bank of America, Spherion Workforce Consulting, and Pinkerton Services Group, in addition to doing independent consulting and speaking engagements on the
Rex holds a Masters in Applied Psychology (focus on I/O Psychology) from Clemson University (1994), and an MBA in Leadership from the McColl School of Business at Queens University (2001). Rex has previously served on the board for One Heart Global Ministries, and has a heart for Christian mission work, having traveled to Guatemala,Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil to serve on missions.
Rex is married to Traci Backes, and has a biological daughter named Madeline, and a son, adopted from Guatemala named Kenan.
Rachel is a licensed professional counselor (LPC-A), working from a humanistic perspective. She has a passion for children and for families. She believes it takes tremendous faith and courage to invite support into your life, which is why she sees being on the board of ASA as an honor.
Rachel has been married to her husband Brad for 30 years and they have 4 adult children (Grace, Kiley, Maisie, and Luke), 2 dogs (Ringo and Winnie) and a seldom seen 12-year-old cat (Moe).
Kristie Opiola, Ph.D, LPC
Kristie is an assistant professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a licensed professional counselor (Texas) and a registered play therapist. Kristie has five years of experience counseling children and families who have experienced interpersonal trauma. Kristie has a special interest in facilitating stronger attachment between parent and children and helping parents heal early trauma in their children.
Kori is a senior Human Resources executive having held numerous HR leadership roles of increasing scope over the course of her more than 20 year career. Kori started her career at GE and later joined Bank of America. She relocated to Arizona for nearly six years to lead an HR team at JP Morgan Chase. Kori was then recruited to join PepsiCo in their Frito Lay Division where she spent 6 years before relocating back to Charlotte to join TIAA. Kori’s specialties include change management, talent management, organizational effectiveness, organizational design, executive coaching/consulting, business workforce & capacity planning and employee relations & engagement.
Kori and her husband, Jeff, welcomed their daughter, Harper, through adoption and are so overwhelmingly grateful for the experience and the support they have received through their network of friends, family and invaluable organizations like Adoption Support Alliance who helped give them to tools, education and the support to complete their family.
Mike Masto has an extensive background in finance and accounting for nonprofits. He worked at Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte for over 14 years and when he left in September of 2018 he had been their CFO for the previous six years. Mike currently owns an accounting company called Book Keep Accounting that specializes in helping small to medium size companies and nonprofits with their day-to-day accounting needs.
Mike holds a Master of Public Administration degree from UNC Charlotte and has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from James Madison University.
When not running his business, Mike enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with his wife, Carrie, and their three kids.