Business Line (541) 337.1323 | Orders To Go: (541) 505.8867

Board of Directors

Board of Directors2018-12-10T16:51:12+00:00

Reality Kitchen Nonprofit Board of Directors

It is important to note that the Reality Kitchen Nonprofit Board of Directors are drawn from the community based on the diverse skill sets that are needed to guide our unique organization.  A deep knowledge of finance, business and nonprofit governance, food service management and, of course, the perspectives and practical experiences gained from classroom and life skills training in the field of Special Education.

100% of the Board of Directors each contributes financially, as well as though their donation of goods, items and in kind services to the organization.

The co-founders, Jim Evangelista and Catherine Pickup, made a significant investment in the startup of Reality Kitchen Nonprofit, both volunteer their work and 100% of their time on behalf of the nonprofit organization and each serves as Executive Director and Program Director respectively. This evidences their commitment to the Mission and goals for success of the each individual Supported Staff member and the unique community inclusive spirit of this organization.

Lynn EgliBoard President
Lynn is an experienced senior manager with a track record of building highly effective cross-functional teams across organizational and geographic boundaries. He brings proven experience in helping his teams set and achieve measurable goals in large, complex organizations. He also brings deep financial management, planning and accounting experience in a number of demanding settings including public accounting, high tech research and development, new business start-up and university fund accounting. He has significant experience in working with diverse cultures having managed staff and worked on teams for Hewlett Packard from Singapore, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Spain, Israel and across the Americas.

Lynn is currently a self-employed non-profit consultant for various nonprofits across Oregon. In the non-profit arena, Lynn currently serves as the Treasurer for Jackson Street Youth Services Inc., Chair of the Location and Building Committee for the Crater Lake District of the United Methodist Church, Board Secretary and grant writer The Eugene Gleemen and Business Manager for Messy Church USA.

Sheila ThomasVice President, Board Member
Sheila has earned a BS in Education with a Handicapped Learner Endorsement and a MS in Developmental Disabilities from the University of Oregon. She taught as a licensed special education teacher for over 20 years for Lane Educational Service District and school district Eugene 4J. Sheila has primarily taught Life Skills at the 3rd-5th grade level and kindergarten through high school as lead teacher for 4j’s summer program. Sheila currently teaches summer school, and through her business, ‘Let’s Go Learn’, she takes individuals on high interest and social outings.

She strongly believes that all people can greatly increase their ability to have a healthy, happy, life by having friends, social fun, and meaningful work. She also believes in the benefits of good food and exercise and is currently a Special Olympics coach for a basketball and a track and field team. Sheila has specialized skills in developing one-page profiles and person centered plans and works as a behavior specialist. Sheila was part of the pilot program when Positive Behavior Support was developed at the University of Oregon and brings her experience as a developer and facilitator for PBS at her school sites, and

Sheila joined the Board because of her ongoing committment to supporting non-profits, agencies, and businesses that work together for the good of all people in our community, She has served on the boards of the Arc of Lane County, Rideable, and currently on the board of Kind Tree-Autism Rocks and networks with local support agencies, arts programs and businesses in Lane County toward a goal of equity and well-being for all citizens and we are grateful for her expertise and service to our organization and community.

Wade BellTreasurer, Board Member
Whether running a 4-minute mile or advising a client on charitable donations, former University of Oregon track star and Eugene area CPA Wade Bell has always focused on the most efficient way to get from point A to point B. Bell’s relationship with nonprofit organizations began when his former coach and Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman, came to him for help setting up a private foundation. “I was the treasurer and the accountant responsible for getting the operation in place,” says Bell. “We took a good idea and product and set a goal for for financial stability to help him build his dream. It seems we did something right there, judging from the long term success of the organization.”

Wade was impressed by the origin story and how Reality Kitchen came to it’s present location, where the Founders took a once failing bakery, without any prior experience, and turned it around into a thriving operation serving so many businesses and customers in Lane County. “My parents owned a bakery and my brothers and I were raised understanding that it’s hard work but rewarding when done with consistency, quality and good community relations.” “I was very impressed that Catherine and Jim shared a unique vision and made their own personal commitment to see it through to success. They’ve got fantastic products, great customer service and a work ethic I respect. Because I believe in their Mission, I joined the Board to do my part to help them build their “castle in the air” and be sure it operates on strong business principles and foundations that are built on solid ground.”

Catherine PickupProgram Director, Board Member, Co-Founder
Catherine has worked closely with students of all abilities in a variety of workplace settings. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Catherine credits her experiences working with children in the Squamish Nation program, the North Vancouver Outdoor School and North Vancouver School District, as fundamental to shaping her commitment to supporting students with extreme behaviors and disabilities. Propelled by these experiences, Catherine enrolled in the pilot Special Education program at Capilano University where she earned her teaching certification.

Since moving to Oregon, she has worked for eight years as a classroom educational assistant for Lane Education School District and for Autism Support Services. Recognizing the challenges that so many young adults experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities face when aging out of existing programs with supports available to them, Catherine sought ways to respond to the growing need this population faces as they seek independence. Articulating the vision that all individuals benefit from gaining the skills to not only plan and prepare healthy meals for themselves, as well as others, Catherine joined Jim Evangelista in their shared goal and commitment to create a program and organization that serves the Employment Path goals of these individuals and prepares them for a future that includes competitive wage employment.

In 2010, left her role with Lane ESD as a co-founder of Reality Kitchen Nonprofit. Catherine serves as the Program Director and coordinates curriculum development and program participant kitchen activities. She manages the café at our River Road location and works closely with all our Supported Staff to guide them through the many baking and food preparation and service to the community.

Niels PasternakBoard Member
Niels joins the Board of Directors as a long term Special Educator and consultant on behaviors. After studying Counseling and Psychology at the University of Oregon, Niels earned his Master’s degree in Special Education from Pacific University and has been the Life Skills Teacher at South Eugene High School for Lane Education Service District since 2007. Niels has also been the Lead Teacher for the 4J School District during the Summer Extended School Year Program beginning in 2014 and served as the Administrator for the ESY Program, as well.

Niels has been a Board Member of the Lane County Education Association as a licensed representative since 2008, as well as serving as an Oregon Education Association and National Education Association delegate during these years. His membership on the Lane Education Service District’s Professional Development, Workload and Safety Committees have extended his diverse experiences as a strong advocate for teacher’s rights and responsibilities giving him extensive time working closely with groups and individuals in the field of education as a team player and leader.

Additionally, Niels has been a successful community liaison with the University of Oregon Youth Tickets Program and Athletics Department working to provide students with disabilities and their families the opportunities to attend UO athletic events free of charge since 2007. In his spare time, Niels community based work has included his role as a Site Council member of South Eugene High School, as well as an advisor to the Look Me in The Eye, Rotary at SEHS and the community organization Families Connected, based out of ARC of Lane County. Niels and his wife, Charu, a software engineer and Team Leader at CB Nuggets Technology, are raising their son and daughter to enjoy all the recreational activities Eugene has to offer and are avid home gardeners.

“I am passionate about helping all students to succeed in life and to find their areas of strength. I love working as a Special Education Teacher and remain committed to helping students and families to get the best educational and valuable experiences they can as they lead lives of personal fulfillment and independence. I know it is our responsibility to provide a diverse range of supports to those in need and to help each individual to reach their potential.

“I have chosen to bring my professional and personal experiences together as I serve on the Board of Reality Kitchen Nonprofit because it is a valuable organization that helps exceptional people to do amazing things in their lives and because we need to continue to offer this unique approach to creating employment path experiences as a model to inspire more places like this in our community and Statewide. Every student deserves to have the opportunity to earn a competitive wage doing meaningful work and develop the positive self-esteem that comes from being a valued member of the larger community.”