Our Team

Esther Herbers, Administrative Coordinator

Esther came to Sunflower in August 2020. She quickly learned the many tasks that she manages including customer service, scheduling deliveries/pick-ups, ordering supplies and coordinating holiday orders while further developing our social media exposure. She is enthusiastic about the mission of Sunflower and enjoys getting to know our students. esther@sunflowerbakery.org.

Liz Hutter

Liz Hutter, Culinary Director

Chef Liz has worn many hats at Sunflower. She is instrumental to the development and implementation of our Pastry Arts Employment Training Program as well as our menu and program operations. Liz is dedicated to our students and the work of Sunflower and has been integral to building our organization. In January 2021, Chef Liz celebrated 10 years with Sunflower. liz@sunflowerbakery.org

John Katz, Program Director

John joined Sunflower in May 2020. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and networks from the food industry to Sunflower. After several years as a chef, most recently John served as Operations Manager for Sodexo at Adventist Shady Grove Medical Center. John is excited to further develop a robust employment training program to enable our graduates to secure job and career opportunities in the pastry arts and hospitality industries. john@sunflowerbakery.org.

Cherilyn Lewis

Cherilyn Lewis, Chef Instructor

Chef Cherilyn brought her skill and attention to fine detail to her instruction and production work at Sunflower in Summer 2019. She enjoys working in our busy and multi-faceted environment where she can be found instructing, supervising and working alongside our students. chefcherilyn@sunflowerbakery.org.

Sara Milner

Sara Portman Milner, LCSW-C, Co-founder & Director of Student Services

As co-founder, Sara was instrumental in helping to establish Sunflower. She now focuses on students and families interested in our Pastry Arts and Hospitality employment training and teen programs. She has helped to develop our curricula and expand our reach to young adults and teens with learning differences in Metro DC. Sara has 45+ years of experience in the disability field and is so proud of Sunflower’s journey. sara@sunflowerbakery.org.

Chef Anna Myers

Anna Myers, Senior Chef Instructor

Chef Anna is the most recent addition to Sunflower. She has worked as an Executive Pastry Chef in Washington DC for over the last 13 years. She enjoyed three years at Metropolitan Club of Washington DC where she had the opportunity to train with former White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier and another 10 years running a large convention hotel pastry shop at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. She recognizes the importance of structured learning that will help an individual achieve their true potential and goals. Anna is a passionate teacher, loves sharing her enthusiasm for pastry and finds being a part of the staff at Sunflower to be a very rewarding experience and opportunity. chefanna@sunflowerbakery.org

Janis Neville

Janis Neville, Operations & IT Coordinator

Janis came to Sunflower in January 2017. She assists customers in placing orders and focuses on developing and implementing our internal databases and ecommerce systems. Janis also serves as our resident IT specialist and website manager. janis@sunflowerbakery.org.

Joey Nowicki

Joey Nowicki, Hospitality Instructor

Joey Nowicki became our Café Manager in December 2016 with 7 years of front-of-house operations and managerial experience. Joey has a great interest in developing our students’ marketable and transferable skills. He has been especially involved in the development and implementation of our Hospitality program and is a dedicated and passionate instructor. joey@sunflowerbakery.org.

Marion Pitcher, Senior Chef Instructor

Chef Marion brings more than 25 years of experience as a pastry chef in the DC area to her position as the lead instructor of our pastry program.  Her calm and supportive demeanor in addition to her skill and deep knowledge of the industry provide a warm, expert and caring introduction for our students. marion@sunflowerbakery.org.

Daphna Raskas

Daphna Raskas, Development Director

Daphna manages Sunflower’s fundraising efforts, building and furthering relationships with foundations, county and state government, corporations and individual donors. Her passion for Sunflower’s mission has spanned Daphna’s time as board member, board chair, executive director, and now as development director. She has 25+ years of experience working with and consulting for nonprofits and family businesses. daphna@sunflowerbakery.org.

Laurie Wexler

Laurie Wexler, Co-founder, Executive Director

Laurie co-founded Sunflower in 2009 and served as executive director until June 2017. After subsequently serving as advisor and board chair, she returned as executive director in July 2020. She is continuously inspired by the outpouring of support and dedication of our community for Sunflower’s work. Laurie has spent more than 30 years in diverse roles within local and national non-profit program delivery and management. laurie@sunflowerbakery.org.