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About Us

We are passionate about our work and committed to partnering for impact.

The world is changing fast, community problems seem bigger than ever and the competition for resources can feel overwhelming. The lines between nonprofit, business, civic and policy impact grow increasingly blurred, as more organizations recognize the need for partnerships and strategies that value both people and sustainability to create systemic change.

These changes are making way for leaders with courageous visions to forge new partnerships and strategies that will create change in communities felt for generations. Leaders and organizations already have the internal drive and expertise to make big impact. Next Stage partners to fuel this drive and make these visions a reality.

Our Values

Purpose

We are called to this work.

Collaboration

We achieve ambitious goals together.

Courage

We say the stuff that needs to be said.

Equity

We’re committed to inside-out solutions.

Efficiency

We are mindful of how we deploy resources.

Commitment

We hold ourselves to a high standard.

The Team

Josh Jacobson, Chief Executive Officer

Josh Jacobson specializes in strategic positioning and tactical implementation, helping private sector companies and nonprofits develop the strategies and platforms necessary to advance their goals.

Over the last nearly 15 years, Josh has directly managed engagements with more than 250 organizations. His expertise is in business planning, strategic planning, social impact design, volunteer development, annual and capital fundraising, case strategy and succession planning. As a consultant, Josh has worked in-depth with every sector, bringing new ideas and approaches into every engagement.

Before relocating to NC, Josh worked in NYC – first as Senior Officer at The Juilliard School where he worked on the $150 million Campaign for Juilliard, and later as a Senior Resource Development Director with Manhattan Theatre Club on Broadway. Josh is actively involved in the civic life of Charlotte and is Board Chair for Tosco Music, a Charlotte-based music nonprofit.

Janet Ervin, Chief Marketing Officer

Janet Ervin brings a depth of experience in strategic positioning, brand development and communications to her role as Chief Marketing Officer at Next Stage.

Prior to joining the team in 2019, Janet spent more than 13 years working with Charlotte-based nonprofit organizations, including the 24 Foundation (formally 24 Hours of Booty). Her expertise includes strategic planning, brand development, fundraising, grant writing, marketing and communications, volunteer development and organizational culture. She also has experience in the corporate sector, including the development of social responsibility and impact strategy and programs. She is passionate about bringing new ideas to social good in the Queen City and making sure that every client is positioned for success.

A North Carolina native and graduate of Appalachian State University, Janet spends her time outside of work volunteering with several nonprofits focused on children and students. She lives in Charlotte with her family, a dog and four chickens.

Christine Eubanks, Chief Experience Officer 

Christine Eubanks’ leadership experience within marketing agencies, nonprofits and corporations lends unique perspective and insight as Next Stage continues its pursuit to deliver exceptional experiences for our clients, internal team and the users of our new CULTIVATE platform.

During her 25 years in marketing firms in Chicago, Raleigh and Charlotte, Christine led client relationships with hundreds of companies across a wide array of industries. In 2016, her passion for community impact led her to put her expertise in strategic planning to good use while first serving as Executive Director of a start-up nonprofit followed by building a national company’s first Corporate Social Responsibility program and scaling it nationally. 

Christine recognized her passion for social good while helping to lead an annual marketing marathon granting nonprofits with their marketing and public relations wish lists in just 24 hours, but she often found herself serving on their boards and committees long after the event. Christine enjoys spending time with her two teenage daughters, photography, traveling to new places – especially when it involves exploring a beach town, and is also a mom to her English Springer Spaniel, Sutton.

Helen Hope Kimbrough, Director, Community Engagement

Helen Hope Kimbrough is a Consultant at Next Stage Consulting LLC where she is responsible for Project Management, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Thought Leadership, and other key initiatives. Helen’s experience in community engagement, program implementation, partnership development, volunteer recruitment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion add significantly to the Next Stage team.

Prior to joining Next Stage, Helen held roles with Augustine Literacy Project-Charlotte and Reading Partners. Her extensive experience in reading and literacy initiatives provides a valuable knowledge base in the educational sector and acknowledges the challenges facing economic mobility.

As a servant leader and racial equity champion, Helen serves on the board of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation, Out Teach, and Parent Child Plus, and is a charter member of the South Charlotte Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Helen is also an author of four multicultural children’s books and founder of an independent publishing company of numerous titles highlighting children’s, motivational, and spiritual genres.

A graduate of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, Helen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Additionally, she has certifications in Systems Thinking from Cornell University and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida.

One of Helen’s favorite quotes is by Dr. Martin Luther Jr. which states, “Everybody can be great – because anybody can serve.” She is purpose-driven, mission-focused, and devoted to making an impact.

Helen resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and is a proud mother of two sons.

Haley Rafferty, Team Success Manager

Haley Rafferty is Next Stage’s Team Success Manager, supporting an operationally strong team that is positioned for maximum impact. She brings a depth of experience from the nonprofit world, including tenures at both Discovery Place and Blumenthal Performing Arts. 

Haley is fiercely organized and skilled at database management, writing, development, reporting & analytics, project management and more. Her passion for social good, alongside her strong management skills, strengthens Next Stage’s organization and operations, positioning us for greater growth in the months and years ahead. 

She has lived most of her life in North Carolina, including graduating from Elon University, and considers the state to be home. Haley was lucky to live in Belgium for several years, where she met her husband. She enjoys spending time with her two cats, fostering kittens, reading mystery novels and being outside. 

 

Candice Rawls, Marketing Manager

Candice Rawls is Next Stage’s Marketing Manager, bringing five years of ad agency experience. Her expertise includes digital graphics, publications, video and marketing collateral.

Prior to joining Next Stage, Candice consulted purpose driven business owners in the finance space with their branding, marketing and content. That work ignited a spark for social good and a desire to join forces with companies and organizations that are making a positive impact on the world.

Candice holds a B.A. in New Media Design & Imaging with a minor in Communications from RIT.  Before relocating to Charlotte, Candice spent her days bundled up in Boston. When she’s not working you can find Candice creating content for her Youtube Channel, working out, being in nature or enjoying a good meal with her husband.

Susan Arrington, Digital Content & Community Manager 

 

Susan Arrington is a collaborative community builder and an expert content strategist who has deep experience building community both on and offline. Prior to joining Next Stage, she spent 13 years leading communications, major projects and overseeing vision alignment for Lake Forest, a network of churches located in Charlotte and Lake Norman. Her resume also includes communication and marketing stops at Cannon School and the Carolina Panthers.

She is a gifted storyteller and content developer, experienced at sharing stories of transformation and impact that move communities to action. 

Born in Massachusetts, Susan is not Tar Heel born, but she is Tar Heel bred – she holds a BA in Journalism and a Certificate in Digital Communication from UNC Chapel Hill. She lives with her family in Huntersville where they can be found cheering on their favorite local sports teams, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains and frequenting Mexican restaurants.