Meet the Board

Guy Sheldon
Guy SheldonPresident

Erie, PA

Guy was born here in Erie and has also lived in Chicago, IL – Milwaukee, WI and Kinston, NC. Guy is a graduate of J Sterling Morton HS (East Campus) and Motorola Technical University. Guy moved back to Erie in 1991 and resides here with his bride, Kathy and 3 children still at home and has 2 that have moved on, one to Cleveland and one to Waco, TX. Two of his children have special needs. Guy has worked in the telecommunications, mass media and hospitality industries and is currently a business development specialist for a commercial HVAC company. Guy is a past president and current board member of NAMI.

Dr. Julia Hawkins-Pokabla
Dr. Julia Hawkins-PokablaSecretary
Erie, PA

Dr. Julia is an assistant professor teaching pediatric coursework at Gannon University in Erie, PA. She continues to work clinically as a pediatric occupational therapist in early intervention. She has over 19 years of pediatric occupational therapy experience and has dedicated most of her career to educating individuals about how to support youth with special needs. Her own children have grown up understanding the importance of accepting all people and have enjoyed many opportunities being around people of all abilities. She assisted in developing the Feeding Clinic at Shriner’s Outpatient Specialty Care Center in Erie, PA and currently runs The Little Knights Clinic at Gannon University that evaluates and treats underserved children. She focuses her scholarly work in the area of tactile play and food aversion. Her natural love for children and lifetime connection to Erie are assets to Mission Empower while she hopes the Erie community and beyond can come together to support the inclusion of all youth to all things possible.

Judy Olmstead
Judy OlmsteadTreasurer
Erie, PA

Judy Olmstead is a long-time financial contributor to Mission Empower and joined the Board in 2017. She has been employed by Scobell Company, Inc. for 20 years and is currently the Vice President/Treasurer there. She is happily married and lives in Erie County. She is a firm believer in the work of Mission Empower as she has known many people affected by the causes we represent.

Diana Fanno
Diana FannoDirector / Parent

Edinboro, PA

As a client of Mission Empower, the agency was welcome and caring towards me and my child during what was an otherwise stressful time.

The agency quickly identified my daughter’s educational need and advocated for her needs to be met. But most importantly, agency staff empowered and educated me about how to independently advocate for my daughter’s rights concerning her special educational needs.

As a member of the Board, I will support Mission Empower to uphold in their mission to provide advocacy, education, and the promotion of inclusion, assisting families and their children with disabilities to enable their children to use their gifts and talents to reach their potential and become productive members of our community.

Lauren Sivillo
Lauren SivilloDirector / Parent

Erie, PA

Lauren Sivillo resides in Erie PA with her husband and two children. She first became associated with Mission Empower when she was referred to the organization for assistance navigating the public education system for her child with an individual education plan. “I was so blessed and thankful to finally have somebody who I felt was truly on my side and had my child’s best interest at heart!”

Over the next several years Mission Empower continued to service its clientele, including Lauren’s family even though out the pandemic.

When the opportunity presented for me to be on the board I enthusiastically agreed! I feel honored to be a part of an organization that is solely focused on its mission of empowering those who are often marginalized. We are all created with a purpose, and Mission Empower helps their clients realize their potential and achieve their goals!

In a busy world where free time is short, you have to prioritize and put your focus on what matters most. Mission Empower’s work matters, it is important and if even one family benefits as much as my family has I know the investment is worth it!

Michelle Jukkoa
Michelle JukkoaDirector / Parent

Erie, PA

Michelle Jukkola is a wife and mom of 2. She was born and raised in Erie and the surrounding area all her life. Growing up, Michelle was faced with many obstacles which is why she is passionate about her community and the surrounding area. She wants to help as many kids as possible to have the opportunity at a wonderful life.

“Hope is born again in the faces of children. — Maya Angelou”