Check out our Winter Holiday Menu! Available for orders December 1-22.

Our Team


Jody Tick

Jody Tick, Executive Director

Jody Tick joined Sunflower in August 2021 as Executive Director. Jody leads the organization to operationalize its mission of using food as a tool for greater training and employment opportunities for people with learning differences. Jody is focused on Sunflower Bakery’s long-standing partnerships; the creation of innovative new partnerships; and growth of Sunflower’s work to reach and employ more students.

Jody has 30 years of experience managing food system-related programs and projects for DC-based nonprofits focused on international and domestic hunger and poverty alleviation; food safety; and the promotion of healthy food access to underserved communities.

Prior to Sunflower Bakery, Jody spent 15 years at the Capital Area Food Bank where she served most recently as the Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Jody was responsible for the management of the CAFB’s daily operations, strategic work addressing root causes of food insecurity, and using data and metrics to inform resource allocation decisions.

Todd Troester

Todd Troester, Director of Development

Todd Troester joined Sunflower Bakery in August 2022 as Director of Development. He brings a wealth of experience in building relationships with individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners. He leads the organization in all fundraising initiatives to support Sunflower Bakeries mission to provide holistic workforce development for individuals with learning differences.

Prior to Sunflower Bakery, Todd’s experience includes seven years working in the fine dining industry and over six years experience fundraising for homeless and human service nonprofits in Baltimore. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Our Joyful Noise Baltimore, a nonprofit that brings music to underserved communities in Baltimore, and is heavily involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

John Katz, Director of Programs

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.

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.

headshot of Cindy Tepper

Cindy Tepper, Business Manager

Cindy has been a part of Sunflower Bakery since its inception in 2009. Cindy has bookkeeping experience of over 30 years and nearly 15 years specific to the non-profit world. Her responsibilities at Sunflower focus on Bookkeeping and Human Resources. Since 2020, Cindy also serves as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) for Target Community & Educational Services in the Montgomery County office.


Vickie Braxton

Vickie Braxton, Hospitality Instructor

Vickie joined Sunflower in May 2023. A native of Washington, DC, Vickie has been training and teaching for over 20 years. Since 2018, she has served as an adjunct instructor at Prince Georges Community College in the Department of Wellness, Culinary Arts and Hospitality. She is also a Workforce Development instructor specializing in customer service and life skills development. Vickie holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in human services with a focus in juvenile justice. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education/Community Care and Counseling/Trauma Focus where she has begun her dissertation and hopes to complete her studies by late 2024 or early 2025.

Elaine Gonzalez

Elaine Gonzalez, Sous Chef Instructor

Elaine joined Sunflower in August 2022 as our pastry sous chef. She has a degree and experience in professional baking and has worked in a Michelin star restaurant. Prior to coming to Sunflower, she was in Los Angeles working as a pastry assistant with a restaurant group. Elaine also has a degree in psychology and says that, “Sunflower Bakery combines my two passions, psychology and pastry”

YaMarie Koroma, Program Coordinator

YaMarie joined our team in December 2022 as our program associate. Prior to Sunflower, YaMarie worked with children on the autism spectrum as a behavior technician, and at an EdTech company that helps high school students create and foster positive learning identities. YaMarie is also currently pursuing her master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Chef Rachel Kwon

Rachel Kwon, Assistant Chef Instructor

Rachel joined Sunflower in February 2022. She was most recently a chef instructor at the International Culinary Center in New York City. Her 10+ years of restaurant experience includes 5 years at Jean-Georges as Pastry Sous Chef. Prior to becoming a chef, Rachel earned a degree in early childhood education. She enjoys using her combined experiences to help prepare the students for successful careers.

Megan McIntosh

Megan McIntosh, Sous Chef Instructor

Chef Megan joined Sunflower in June 2021 as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She brings several years of restaurant and bakery experience to Sunflower Bakery. Megan enjoys working with and instructing our students every day. As someone with a learning disability she is passionate about the mission of Sunflower Bakery and providing the right kind of support to our students.

Sara Portman 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.

Chef Anna Myers

Anna Myers, Lead 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.

Janis Neville

Janis Neville, Information Technology and Systems Specialist

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.

Marion Pitcher, Lead 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.

Kimberly Rayburn

Kimberly Rayburn, Administrative Coordinator

Kimberly joined our team in July 2021. With over ten years of administrative office and over five in service industry experience, she brings attention to detail, high level customer service, and culinary understanding to Sunflower Bakery. She assists customers with their orders, works with drivers and partner locations getting orders where they need to be, and helps students achieve their goals.

Evelyn Rojas M.

Evelyn Rojas, Cafe Manager and Hospitality Instructor

Evelyn joined the team in January 2023 as the Café Manager and Hospitality Instructor. Evelyn’s years of experience working in the hospitality field is an asset to Sunflower and our students. In addition to her hospitality work experience, she has also worked with young adults with learning differences in hospitality settings.

Becky Webb

Becky Webb, Job Coach

Becky joined our team in May 2022. She brings her experience and expertise to support our Pastry Arts and Hospitality students in job development, placement and transition to employment.

Prior to Sunflower, Becky had been working with young adults with learning differences with career development, independent living skills, and social skills. In December 2022, she will graduate from the University of Maryland with a Master’s of Education in Special Education. Becky is looking forward to supporting Sunflower’s trained professionals on their career journey with dedication, care, and fun!