Board of Directors
Brooke Shannon is the Executive Director and founder of Wait Until 8th. She lives in Austin with her husband Michael and three daughters. Brooke has a Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and B.A. in Political Science and Communications from the University of Miami.
Brooke believes all children should experience a childhood filled with outside play, long afternoons with books and puzzles and time without the presence of a screen. After many conversations with friends about the smartphone problem, she wanted to make a change in her community and hopefully beyond. Please join her in equipping and blessing children with more years without the dangers and distractions of a smartphone.
Jessica Blacklock lives in Austin with her husband, Jimmy, and three daughters. She is a corporate lawyer and co-founder of Potts Blacklock Senterfitt, PLLC. Jessica received her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law, and also received a bachelor of business administration from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.
As a lawyer working with start-ups, Jessica knows that smartphone and tablet technology is a critical driver of innovation. As a busy working mom, she uses tech to increase her efficiency and give her more time with her family. But Jessica sees how easily children turn into zombies in front of a smartphone or tablet. Jessica believes we can balance the advantages of technology with protecting our children’s development. And through Wait Until 8th, she wants to empower other parents who feel the same way.
Megan Whitley lives in Austin with her husband, David, and their two young children. Megan Whitley joins Wait Until 8th with more than a decade of digital public relations and public affairs experience across agencies, consumer brands and political campaigns. She spent three years in an Austin technology startup (acquiring ‘grit’) and currently holds the position of Director of Social Media for GOSMiLE.
Whitley’s abiding love for her two young children, and her many years of immersion in online media and advertising has culminated in her compelling desire to devote herself to driving the mission of Wait Until 8th forward. Whitley holds a BA in Communication Management from the University of Denver. Whitley loves playing tennis, exploring the outdoors with her children, and relishes date nights with David.
As a husband, father of four children, and native Austinite, Ben Cannatti’s heart is bent toward service. He brings to The Wait Until 8th board over 20 years of experience of designing and creating organizations and operations to raise awareness, influence opinion, build consensus, and impact policy decisions all across the United States. Ben’s company, Caleb Consulting is a full service political, communications, and advocacy firm built on the premise of serving and leading well. The firm has a unique combination of local, state, and national experience developed through creating advocacy and engagement strategies for clients in the political, public policy, and corporate arenas.
Dr. natahsa burgert
Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP is an innovative general pediatrician in Kansas City, MO and National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Her work with patients has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Parents magazine. She also has been highlighted on NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, and other local news programs. She has had the opportunity to keynote at various health marketing, vaccine advocacy, and physician-led organizations.
Dr. Burgert is fueled by her husband and two young children.
Dr. Richard Freed
Dr. Freed is a child and adolescent psychologist and a leading authority on raising children in the digital age. He is the author of the book Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age, and his insights have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, on NPR, and other media platforms.
Dr. Freed speaks internationally to groups of parents, teachers, and health care providers. Receiving his professional training at Cambridge Hospital / Harvard Medical School and the California School of Professional Psychology, he now lives in Walnut Creek, California and is the father of two girls, ages 11 and 15.
Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of two global initiatives, Character Day and 50/50 Day.
Tiffany serves on the Leadership Board of The Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard's Boston Children's Hospital and she is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute. She recently wrote 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week about her family’s decade long ritual of turning off screens one day each week.
DR. CATHERINE STEINER-ADAIR
Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant and award winning author.
Author of the award-winning book, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, Dr. Steiner-Adair examines ways in which the wonders of technology and media also change how children learn and grow, and shows parents and educators how to reap the benefits of tech while reducing the risks it poses at every stage of child development. In The Big Disconnect (cited as a Wall Street Journal TOP 10 Best Non-Fiction 2013) and in her work internationally as a speaker and consultant, Dr. Steiner-Adair identifies digital age challenges for parents and educators, and ways to strengthen children’s social and emotional development to help them grow to be responsible, resilient, confident, and capable young adults.
Corinne Sumpter has worked with families for more than twenty years. Upon graduation from Stanford Law School, Corinne spent two years in Washington, DC, representing juveniles and supervising law students as a teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. She received her L.L.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown and then moved to Texas to join up with (and marry!) her law school classmate, David Gonzalez. Sumpter & Gonzalez, LLP grew from there.
Corinne increasingly finds herself helping families navigate the myriad ways that kids get into trouble with smartphones. Having seen cases of drug deals over SnapChat, kids arrested for comments made playing violent video games, and girls moving schools after naked pictures go viral, Corinne takes every opportunity to speak to parents and kids about the risks of social media. As a mom of four children, it's an incredibly important topic at home, too.
Sarah Siegand is a wife and mother of two boys living in Nashville, TN. In 2015, she and her husband Jesse started an online safety campaign called “Parents Who Fight,” a response to some troubling situations involving her sons’ classmates stumbling upon dangerous content online. Sarah is passionate about helping parents protect kids online through parent workshops, webinars, and in-home tech consultations.
Parents Who Fight aims to give practical tools to parents so they feel equipped and inspired to prepare their children for a life of wisdom and boundaries in the digital age. As a mom, Sarah has been grateful for the way her sons (tween and teen) have chosen to embrace the idea of delaying smartphones and social media until high school.
Naomi Schaefer Riley
Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She also writes about parenting, higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture.
She is a former columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor and writer, as well as the author of six books, including, Be the Parent: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat (2018).
Ms. Riley’s writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications.
She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in English and Government. She lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband, Jason, and their three children.
Joe Clement & Matt Miles
With a combined 30 years of experience improving education in Northern Virginia, Joe Clement and Matt Miles are passionate about supporting and advocating for students’ best interests. They have taught government, psychology, political science and world history. They are coaches and mentors who care deeply about students and their education.
Matt and Joe also are co-authors of Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber. On a mission to educate and empower parents, they provide many real-world examples and cite multiple studies showing how technology use has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in our young people.
Josh Golin is Executive Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which educates the public about commercialism's impact on kids' wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing. CCFC is the home of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, a coalition of practitioners, educators, and advocates working to promote a healthy childhood by reducing the amount of time kids spend with digital devices.
Josh's is regularly quoted in major publications about CCFC’s advocacy efforts, and his media appearances include Today, NPR, Good Morning America, and Fox and Friends. Josh’s 10-year-old daughter Clara is a vocal advocate for limited screen time who is not shy about reminding her parents that she is infinitely more interesting and important than the content on their devices.
Local Voices of Wait Until 8th
Chris Gerosa lives in Westchester county in a suburb just outside NYC, with her husband and three children. As a full-time mom, Chris is active in her school PTA and started a committee called PASS - Parenting Around Screens and Social Media - using the Wait Until 8th pledge as a starting point. The PASS committee now hosts group discussions to discuss ways to parent around the distractions of smartphones, video games and other screens. Chris believes in giving our children support to resist the pressures and addictive nature of smartphones, social media, video games, and their effects on our children’s wellbeing, and has signed the pledge for all three of her children.
Elaine Trull is a native of Austin, graduated from the University of Texas and is a full-time mom. She and her husband, Asa, have two children. Elaine has observed that young minds are like sponges; they are wildly curious, but lack discernment. Elaine believes our children deserve the opportunity for their minds to be filled with all the wonder this world has to offer, free from the dangers of the internet, predators and the snares technology uniquely provides. Without the distraction of a smartphone, children can foster relationships, build communication skills and grow their imagination - priceless assets for life.
Becky Cover lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two daughters. Becky has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis and a Masters of Education/Teaching Credential from UC Santa Barbara. Over the past 15 years, Becky has taught students ranging from 2nd to 8th grade. She is on the Executive Board of her local schools’ community foundation and is a School Ambassador for ScreenSense.org, a community-based resource to support families and educators creating a healthy relationship with tech. As a parent and an educator, Becky values the upsides of technology, but believes that smartphones can have downsides for children and their developing brains. She is excited to mobilize Wait Until 8th in her community.
Cathy York lives in Austin with her husband Brian and their four children. She received her BBA from the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active volunteer in her children’s schools, church and community.
Cathy thinks children are maturing at a faster rate now than previous generations. She believes in growing a strong foundation of self-confidence and self-esteem in her children to help them navigate the risks of social media. She wants her children to take full advantage of their childhood and feels smartphones can impede this.
A Massachusetts native, Teresa lives in the suburbs of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. Holding a BS in Psychology and an MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, she works as an executive and team coach in her role as a Talent Development Consultant for a Big Four Accounting Firm.
Teresa believes research is clear on the negative impact smartphones can have on children and adults alike. As a result, she is devoted to making a smartphone-free childhood a possibility for all of the children in her community.
Stephanie Strain is a wife, mother and local artist based in Austin. She was born and raised in California and received her BA in Linguistics from University of California at Santa Cruz. She is very involved in her community and serves as the Booster Club president of her children’s elementary school. She encourages her two children to be independent thinkers and to love travel, the outdoors and reading.
Stephanie believes that middle school can be a tricky time for children and that those years are better spent away from the added stresses of social media and the pressures that come with having a smartphone.
Kim Levell was born and raised in Dallas and now lives in Austin with her husband Michael and two children. She has a bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies and Psychology, a Masters in Counseling, and is a former Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. As a former special education teacher and behavior specialist, she has seen firsthand how an overindulgence of screentime can negatively affect mood and behavior in children. As a full-time mom, Kim is actively involved in her children's schools and her family's church.
Erin Breitenbach lives in Austin with her two sons. She has a PhD in Health Education from The University of Texas and works as an Associate Professor and Department Chair for a Doctorate in Health Education program (DHEd) and a Doctorate in Education (EdD) in Health Professions Education program. Erin believes that the hours a child could spend on screens could easily be replaced with time spent on meaningful relationships, experiences, activities, and skills development. She is a firm believer that childhood is the easiest time to develop the habits and skills that will last a lifetime. Erin enjoys athletics, traveling, reading, and lots of outdoor adventures with her children.
Melissa Byrkit lives in Austin with her husband, Doug, and their three children. Originally from the Seattle area, Melissa has B.A. in Speech Communications from University of Washington. She has worked more than 15 years in professional investment planning and management. Currently Melissa takes care of her young children and helps lead a kid’s bible study. Melissa’s hope is that families will develop healthy habits as it pertains to online activity.
Pamela Boccia has taught high school for more than 15 years. Having witnessed first-hand the impact of smartphones and social media on her students, she believes strongly in the social, emotional, and academic benefits of delaying and limiting smartphones and social media. Pamela has a B.A. in English and an M. Ed. in Secondary English Education from Rutgers University, as well as a certification in Special Education from New Jersey City University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children in Cranford, New Jersey.
Jennie Shaw is a local Wait Until 8th voice for Virginia. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, and is a realtor. Jennie attended the University of Virginia.
Chelsa Ressetar lives in Waco, Texas with her three daughters. She has 15 years of corporate marketing experience and currently works as the Director of Advancement at Vanguard College Preparatory School. When she began working at a school she was profoundly moved by the impact of screens on families. After attending several National Association of Independent School Conferences, she became passionate about the impact of screens and social media on children. For the past five years, Chelsa has presented at many local schools, community groups, and churches. She is passionate about informing educators, students and parents about the impact of screens and media on our thoughts, behaviors, and lives.
Tera Ferguson lives in Austin with her husband, Douglas Rivera, and their three children. Tera has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University. She has more than 15 years of professional experience in business and technology consulting. She is currently a part-time independent consultant, full-time mom, and active volunteer in the Austin community. Tera and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling and watching movies together. She believes the social pressures we all face in an online environment take confidence and maturity to navigate, and that delaying access to social media will help her children handle it in a responsible way.
Jennifer Watson is a former teacher and lives in Oregon City, Oregon. She has a Master of Education from Portland State University. As a mom of three young daughters, she loves Wait Until 8th's message of empowering parents and protecting childhood. Jennifer is particularly passionate about raising girls with healthy self esteems in this digital world. She loves reading, swimming, camping, and any activity that involves spending time outdoors with her family.