Message from the 2024 tHRive Chair

February 2, 2024
Tom Marsden
Message from the 2024 tHRive Chair

Hello fellow tHRive members!

The board and I are very excited for another outstanding year of serving tHRive and connecting young professionals in Hampton Roads. In 2023 we continued to add dozens of new members each month and hosted over 20 events. We are looking forward to carrying that momentum forward in 2024 and the board has been hard at work carving out what the new year will look like. 

Historically, tHRive has always had a non-profit partner that we collectively support for a two-year term. We wrapped up a successful two-year term with REACH. We were able to volunteer and support them through fundraising as they continued to grow. In 2024-25, we will be supporting the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation, so keep an eye out for volunteer and fundraising opportunities. Our goal is to host something related to ERT once a month, whether it be a cleanup day, fundraising event, or other volunteer project.

We are also looking forward to hosting our regularly scheduled monthly events such as member meetups, happy hours, local looks, impact talks and table for tens. As a board, we are focused on collaborating with other networking groups and have a goal to do several joint events in 2024. 

Towards the end of the year, we will host our fourth annual tHRive Summit where we will spend several hours connecting, listening to speakers and panel discussions, and participating in breakout sessions. Last year, we saw over 150 young professionals at our summit and we look forward to hosting our fifth annual summit this fall.

As I wrap up this message, I am very grateful to serve on our board, a group that is very hardworking. I want to thank all of the board members, committee members, volunteers and the Hampton Roads Chamber for their support. We are all volunteers who want to keep moving tHRive forward in the new year. If you are interested in serving on our board or one of our committees, please send us an email at I encourage you to come to our events and look for someone with a tHRive nametag, we would love to chat with you!

At your service,

Austin Gregory, tHRive Chair

Austin Gregory

January 26, 2021
Tom Marsden
Ashton Love Joins tHRive Board

tHRive is pleased to announce that Ashton Love has been elected as Vice Chair of Membership on tHRive’s Board of Directors for the 2021 calendar year. The young professional program of the Hampton Roads Chamber  is approaching its sixth year as one of the 757’s premiere young professional networks, and boasts a roster of over 3,000 diverse members in practically all of the region’s primary industries.

Ashton will take a leadership role on the Membership committee, which is responsible for engaging with current members and providing a welcoming environment for new and future members to network, share and grow. When asked why he joined the tHRive Board, Love stated “I’m passionate about building our young professional community in the region and I’m excited to help continue, and grow, the success and impact of tHRive.”

Love will also be integral in developing safe and opportunistic events for new and current members to connect throughout his two-year term on the Board.  “As we begin 2021, I am very pleased to have Ashton  joining our Board of Directors,” says tHRive Chairman Tom Marsden. “He brings an energy to the position that will surely help connect and motivate our own members to get more involved with tHRive.”

Ashton Love is employed as an Investment Executive at Davenport & Company LLC, where he helps a variety of clients with their investment and financial planning needs which can range from retirement planning to stock and investment portfolio management. 

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January 26, 2021
Tom Marsden
Melissa Katz Joins tHRive Board

tHRive is pleased to announce that Melissa Katz has been elected as Vice Chair of Branding on tHRive’s Board of Directors for the 2021 calendar year. The young professional program of the Hampton Roads Chamber is approaching its sixth year as one of the 757’s premiere young professional networks, and boasts a roster of over 3,000 diverse members in practically all of the region’s primary industries.

Melissa Katz will support the branding committee, as the Branding Vice Chair. This role is responsible for defining, sharing, engaging, and evolving what it means to be a part of tHRive. In 2021, the team is focused on re energizing members in areas of professional development, cultivating relationships, and community engagement. When asked why she joined the tHRive Board, Katz stated “I’m very excited to join this impressive Board, and hope to use design to create a positive impact with the people in our region.” 

Katz will also be integral in telling the story of tHRive and giving a voice to young professionals throughout her two-year term on the Board.  “As we begin 2021, I am very pleased to have Melissa  joining our Board of Directors,” says tHRive Chairman Tom Marsden. “She will no doubt play an integral role in representing the young professional community, and I commend her for committing time and energy into moving our region forward through her work with tHRive.”

Melissa Katz is employed as a  Design Manager at The Port of Virginia where she leads the creative direction and evolution for their visual design and experiences.

January 26, 2021
Anne Baumler
tHRive Announces It’s 2021 Board

tHRive, the young professional program of the Hampton Roads Chamber, has announced its new Board Leadership for 2021. The working Board, with the support of the Chamber, has elected Tom Marsden as tHRive Chairman for the 2021 term, along with four new Board members.

Marsden is a Vice President at Marathon Consulting and previously served as the Vice-Chair of tHRive’s Regional Engagement Committee in 2020. As tHRive Chairman, he will serve as the program’s leader and work alongside the Board of Directors to continue the progress made by his predecessor, Norfolk Southern’s Assistant Director of Labor Relations, Daniel Sileo. Like it did many with many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many challenges for tHRive in 2020. His goals for a renewed and reenergized 2021 include: getting back and delivering tHRive’s core principles of professional development, creating strong relationships, and community engagement; reengaging current members of tHRive and attracting new members; enhancing the diversity of tHRive as a representation of Hampton Roads’ young professional community; and championing the responsibility of tHRive’s members to give back to and make an impact in the community, among many others.

Hampton Roads Chamber President & CEO, Bryan Stephens says, “I am immensely impressed with the 2021 tHRive Board of Directors. They represent the best of our young professionals in the Hampton Roads business community.  I am confident they will continue to lead the 3000+ members of tHRive to accomplish their objectives this year in spite of the pandemic.  I look forward to watching them as they cultivate regional awareness and community development by providing a platform to empower young professionals, give them a voice, and invest in the future of our region”.

tHRive is supported by a robust and active team of volunteer committees devoted to promoting an attractive and dynamic community by engaging in the development of the region.

Marsden says, “On top of all the excitement for what 2021 will bring, I am very excited to take on the position of the chairman of the board of tHRive. I thank our previous chair Daniel Sileo for all his efforts for tHRive. I take on this responsibility knowing that I have a strong and energized board around me to recalibrate tHRive for the business environment of 2021 and beyond. We hope to continue to grow on what tHRive has done well and use tHRive as a conduit to make an impact on issues that are important to the 757 young professional community.”

The 2021 tHRive Board is as follows:

Chair – Tom Marsden
Marathon Consulting
Vice President

Chamber Liaison – Anne Baumler
Hampton Roads Chamber
Director of Events

Director of Administration – Lauren Bland
Hampton Roads Soccer Council
Executive Director

Branding Chair – Lauren Roberts
Chesapeake Public Schools
Special Education Teacher

Branding Vice-Chair – Melissa Katz
Virginia Port Authority
Design Manager

Membership Chair – Kiersten Stanton
Aerotek Inc. – Aston Carter
Business Development Manager

Membership Vice Co-Chair – Neil Anglen
Business Development and Sales

Membership Vice Co-Chair – Ashton Love
Investment Executive
Davenport & Company

Events Chair – Caroline Myatt
The Foleck Center
Marketing Manager

Events Vice-Chair – Monica Wilsey
Heather Murray Homes
Business Development Manager

Regional Engagement Chair – Amanda Green
Hampton Roads Workforce Council
Youth Program Coordinator

Regional Engagement Vice-Chair – Amasa Smith
CIVIC Leadership Institute
Director of Programming and Communications


January 26, 2021
Tom Marsden
2021 Membership and COVID Poll

As we all know, 2020 has been a challenging and unexpected year. tHRive is excited to step into 2021 with a fresh and renewed focus. tHRive is taking a look at all aspects of our programming to make sure it aligns with our members’ goals and tHRive’s mission. We also want to ask our members how they are doing and how they have been affected by the current pandemic. All of these answers will help chart tHRive’s course for now and into the future, so we can bring the most value to its members. Please keep in mind these survey results are 100% anonymous.

Please click here to take the survey! Thank you for all your help.

March 12, 2020
Sarah Hill
Coronavirus in the 757: How to help and get help

Safety precautions preventing the spread of COVID-19 can have unfortunate side effects. Although these moves are strategic and essential to keep the virus from spreading, cancelling events, closing workplaces, and shutting schools can lead to new or worsening cases of food, housing, or income insecurity.

But, if there’s one thing the 757 is rich in, it’s caring neighbors and resources. Here’s a list of resources available in our area, and some ways to help.

If you have anything to add to this list, please comment on our facebook page or email Branding Chair Sarah Darrow at

If you need help for your business:

Hampton Roads Chamber COVID-19 Business Resource Guide 

Hampton Roads Chamber COVID-19 Business Recovery Guide

If you need food for your school aged children:

Portsmouth: From Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, and from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27, the City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Public Schools are partnering to provide food program services for Pre-K through 12th grade students. All meals will consist of bagged food for pick-up only (i.e. no eating at the sites). One meal per child who MUST be physically present to receive a meal.

Portsmouth Public Schools will serve breakfast from 8–9 a.m. and Lunch from Noon to 1 p.m. at the following sites:

The City of Portsmouth will serve Lunch from Noon to 2 p.m. and Dinner from 5–7p.m. at the following sites:

  • Social Services Building 1701 High Street
  • Neighborhood Facility Recreation Center 900 Elm Ave
    Cavalier Manor Recreation Center 404 Viking Street
  • J.E. Parker Recreation Center (2430 Turnpike Road

For additional information, call the Portsmouth Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at (757) 393-8481.

For other school district accommodations, please click here. 

If you need financial help:

Please visit There you can find resources for food, housing, childhood and maternity, inmate and re-entry, legal and public safety, education, employment, health including mental health, senior, disability, housing, veteran and military, clothing and household goods, and violence intervention.

To check into government benefits for which you may qualify including energy, food, and healthcare assistance, visit CommonHelp.

If you are unable to leave your home due to quarantine or existing illness:

Fill out this form and we’ll try to help connect you to local community members who can help.

If you are a college student:

U-haul is making their services free or extremely discounted for students who need to move or store their belongings. Visit their website or contact them for details.

Check in with your university’s dean of students, and see about food assistance. College students are often prone to food insecurity and there’s no shame in asking for help.

If you are looking for remote work opportunities:

Check out this list to connect with resources and find some possibilities.

If you would like to help:

tHRive’s community partner of the year is Samaritan House. They are in need of cleaning supply kits. These are difficult to come by now, but if you can spare some disinfecting supplies they’d be greatly appreciated. They also need air mattresses and pumps. You can drop off donations at their office in Virginia Beach, located at 2620 Southern Boulevard.
Their specific needs include:

  • Hand Sanitizer (minimum of 60% alcohol)
  • Aloe
  • Clorox Wipes (35 – 50 count as they are small and will fit inside of the bins.)
  • Alcohol
  • Lysol Spray

The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is starting to see declines in food donations, and needs volunteers for their packing and sorting facility as well as their mobile food banks for distribution. Visit their website or call Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Ponce at 757-596-7188 to set up a time to volunteer. Financial assistance is always welcome Each dollar you donate provides 4 meals. You can donate online at their website.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is kindly requesting for your help with:

The Hampton Roads Community Action Program (HRCAP) offers a variety of assistance including emergency services. You can help them by volunteering or making a donation.

Union Mission Community Services also provides emergency services and care for people seeking shelter or a meal. You can donate supplies or funds, in addition to many other ways to support their mission.

Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is your connection to help with Meals on Wheels, which provides food for home-bound seniors. As the aging population is at particular risk, you may wish to consider supporting this organization by making a donation.

The Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center is desperately seeking people to foster or adopt animals as they made the difficult decision to operate without volunteer help. Visit them at 5585 Sabre Rd in Norfolk. Adoption fees have been discounted to $20 through Sunday, and animal reclaim fees will be waived until the end of the city’s closure.

This is just a start. If you know of any resources available or have anything to add, please comment on our facebook page or email Branding Chair Sarah Darrow at Thank you!

February 25, 2020
Sarah Hill
tHRive Announces Samaritan House as their 2020 Community Partner

tHRive, the young professional program of the Hampton Roads Chamber, is pleased to announce Samaritan House as its organization of the year. A crucial part of tHRive’s mission is to invest in the future of our region by facilitating young professional engagement through community involvement with local nonprofits and volunteer opportunities. This year, tHRive will be volunteering, advocating and fundraising for Samaritan House throughout their regular events. Members can sign up to attend the March 3 kickoff event and learn more at

Robin Gauthier, the Executive Director for Samaritan House shared her thoughts on the partnership. She said, “Samaritan House has been helping victims of violence in our community for 35 years. The continued success of our mission relies on the generosity of our community and local professionals like tHRive. We are grateful that tHRive selected Samaritan House as their nonprofit for 2020.”

The mission of Samaritan House is to foster personal safety, growth and self-sufficiency in adults and their children through freedom from sexual and domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness. They own and operate 14 safe houses for emergency shelter for individuals and families fleeing violence and those at risk of losing their homes. Clients receive support through case management, counseling, victim advocacy, nutrition assistance, transportation, access to medical care and vocational training. They also have a children’s program, which works with youth to establish healthy relationships, build self-confidence and break the cycles of violence.

“We’re so excited to partner with the Samaritan House for 2020,” says Amanda Green, tHRive’s Regional Engagement Chair. “There will be several ways for young professionals to get involved with our efforts including hands-on volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. We can’t wait to see all we are able to accomplish.”

“The fact that tHRive designated Samaritan House as their charity for 2020 is exciting and humbling. Members of tHRive are committed to influencing change for our neighbors in need through leadership, financial support, service projects and being the voice for the voiceless in Hampton Roads,” says Tom Higgins, Samaritan House Development Director.

Lauren Roberts, tHRive’s Director of Fundraising, added that “partnering with the Samaritan House as our Organization of the Year is a wonderful way for the members of tHRive to make a major impact on the community! The Samaritan House does essential work in our region and we will be able to support them via volunteer power and with financial assistance through all we have planned for 2020.”

tHRive’s past community partners have included the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Virginia, and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Last year tHRive raised $5,000 for CHKD, and this year tHRive’s financial goal is to raise $7,570 for Samaritan House.

tHRive is a program of the Hampton Roads Chamber created by a small group of diverse young professionals all driven to provide a platform to advance and empower millennials in our region. tHRive has numerous signature events throughout the year and various monthly events spread across the region. These events will promote an attractive and dynamic community by engaging in the development of the region, and will focus on tHRive’s three main goals: Professional Development, Cultivating Relationships, and Community Engagement. Visit Like us on Facebook at YPtHRive and follow us on Twitter @YPtHRive.

February 15, 2020
Sarah Hill
Hampton Roads Young Professionals Learn How to Optimize their Financial Futures

Over 30 millennials gathered to take charge! Of their financial future, that is. tHRive held its first Impact Talk of 2020 on Thursday, February 6 at Gather in Norfolk. It was hosted by Heiner Kessler of ABNB Federal Credit Union. Kessler is an Investment Advisor who is well versed in all aspects of financial planning including initiating IRAs, establishing term insurance, income planning in retirement, and more. The topic of Kessler’s speech was, “Take Charge of Your Financial Future.”

For many young professionals, financial decisions are overwhelming. But they are also critical. During his talk, Heiner Kessler provided a wealth of information on how to invest wisely. Topics included taking control of your money, becoming a more knowledgeable investor, advocating for yourself in the workplace, and planning for retirement.

Heiner Kessler from ABNB advises young professionals from the 757 about finances.

One of Kessler’s key pieces of advice to young professionals: you cannot be risk-averse. There are smart risks, or investments, you can make to increase your overall wealth. According to Kessler, “If you’re not willing to lose money in bad times, you won’t make money in good times.” When you make a mistake, learn from it and move forward. tHRive members who had questions asked them freely, making the event both educational and interactive. tHRive is proud to make learning resources available for young professionals in the 757 community. A huge thank you to tHRive Diamond Sponsor, ABNB Federal Credit Union.

For more upcoming tHRive events, visit

December 31, 2019
Sarah Hill
Message from the Incoming 2020 Chair

Members of tHRive,
I am truly honored and excited to assume the role of tHRive’s 2020-21 Chairman of the Board. This essential program of the Chamber has rapidly grown over the past four years under the leadership and vision of Julia and Alisa as they worked tirelessly to advance tHRive’s mission. I believe we are up to the challenge of continuing in their legacy over the next two years, largely due to the incredible individuals on the 2020 Board of Directors who have joined me to volunteer their time and effort on behalf of our valued members. Exciting times are ahead of us!

Above everything else, I am committed to doing even more in 2020 to transform tHRive into a value-add organization in the Hampton Roads community. Young professionals of the 757 are not just looking for another social club or group of friends to enjoy Happy Hour with. Don’t get me wrong—those things are great, but our potential is so much greater. We are uniquely positioned to truly make a difference in our region by giving back to those in need, by making our voices heard, by influencing the business and political leaders of our seven cities, and by providing our members with the tools they need to succeed in today’s workforce.

I hope you will join me and our Board of Directors in the coming year to make this vision a reality. We are realigning our internal structure and priorities to ensure that everything we do serves our greater purpose. There will be exciting changes, announcements, and ways to get involved in the coming months—so be on the lookout! One last thing: I am counting on you, our members, to make your voices heard. If there is something that you think tHRive could (or should) be doing in the 757 to support young professionals, or a missing service that is desperately needed in our community, we need you to let us know. Send your feedback to and I will personally review it and respond. Your newly elected Chairman is eager to hear from you and ready to get to work. To 2020!

Daniel Sileo Headshot

Daniel Sileo

tHRive Chair

November 4, 2018
Alejandro J. Medina
Hampton Roads Perspective: tHRive | Entercom Radio

tHRive was featured on the Entercom radio network segment “Hampton Roads Perspective” hosted by Dale Murray on November 4, 2018.  During the 30 minute interview, board members Alisa Crider, Anne Baumler, and Daniel Sileo discussed what tHRive is, how and why it was created, some of its successes, and what’s ahead for the group. Listen to the whole interview below.