Our Mission

Rescue Connections will provide media relations, public relations, promotion, event planning, social media, mobile app development and video/audio services, free of charge, to no-kill shelters in the Charlotte region. Together we WILL expand their reach and bring needed attention to the homeless animal epidemic and create forever homes for many deserving animals.

Meet the Team

 

 Clark G. Curtis
Founder, Executive Director

After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications my journey started at a small AM/FM radio station in the cornfields of central Indiana which led to TV anchoring and reporting, video production, forming my own communications consulting business, to the federal courthouse in Denver, CO covering the Oklahoma City Bombing trials for NBC radio, to director of public relations for two major auto racing facilities to director of communications at the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte, along with some stops at a few other ports of call along the way.

I have had a lifelong passion for animal welfare. In fact as a child I wanted to be a veterinarian. So with over 35+ years in the communications business as a reporter, producer in radio and TV, pr and media relations director I combined my passion and experience and launched my nonprofit, Rescue Connections in the Fall of 2017.  That lifelong passion has now become a reality as I strive to find forever homes for those with no voice of their own.

 

Board of Directors

 

Mary Bures
Chair
Director, Great Outdoors University

 Bures joined the North Carolina Wildlife Federation team in October of 2012. She established and directs NCWF’s Great Outdoors University (GoU). Additionally, she has been actively involved in a volunteer capacity with NCWF for over 10 years serving on the leadership team, 5 years as President, with Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK) the first NCWF Chapter. Bures has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Life Sciences from the University of Florida. She is a Habitat Steward and Certified Master Naturalist. Her passion to help others better understand, appreciate, value and care for all life and its’ life support has been the connecting thread through her career path. She owned and operated a landscape design and installation company in Palm Beach County Florida for 6 years. Bures then moved to Charlotte and began a career at Discovery Place where she held a variety of positions over the years including directing the health, environmental, biological and earth sciences departments, special projects, research and evaluation. Mary has done an outstanding job establishing GoU and its’ over 60 partners, developing curriculum options, finding support … setting GoU up to experience continued growth and success. GoU has helped to connect over 51,500 participants to nature through programs and events since launching its first program in June 2013.

Mirsad Hadzikadic
Vice Chair
Executive Director, Data Science Initiative; Director, Complex Systems Institute, UNC Charlotte

Dr. Mirsad Hadzikadic has over thirty years of information technology experience combining business and academic environments. Hadzikadic joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1987 after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University where he was a Fulbright Scholar.  From 1991 to 1997, Hadzikadic served as the Director of the Department of Medical Informatics and Department of Orthopedic Informatics of the Carolinas HealthCare System.  In 1998, he joined Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group as Manager in the Health Systems Integration Service Line.  He returned full time to the University in January 1999 to assume the chair position in Computer Science and serve as Associate Director of the School of Information Technology.  Hadzikadic helped to shepherd the transition from a school in the College of Engineering into an independent College of Computing and Informatics, and served as its founding dean.

Jennifer Nichols
Secretary/Treasurer
Founder, Executive Director, Aspire Carolinas Foundation

Nichols holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Malone University in Canton, Ohio and completed additional coursework in reading education (Eastern Michigan University) and developmental disabilities (CPCC). She taught for nine years in Michigan before moving to North Carolina and changing careers. After several years in sales and management, she entered the non-profit field. She is a certified grants writer and seasoned fundraiser working with organizations such as InReach, The Arc of Mecklenburg, The American Red Cross, and Discovery Place. Nichols most recently worked at The John Crosland School as Director of Institutional Advancement. For eight years she was responsible for program development, marketing and public relations. The opportunity to serve as Executive Director of Aspire Carolinas marks the culmination of a lifetime dream to head a non-profit that serves students with learning differences and Asperger’s.