Meet our dream team

Rachel Waterman - CEO
Senior Grant Writer and Research Director

Rachel Waterman holds a Master’s degree in Community and Economic Development from Illinois State University where she graduated with a G.P.A. of 4.0. with a concentration in Applied Social Research. Her BA is in International Studies from Barry University where she was the top graduate in her major; and also has a minor in Spanish Interpretation and Translation.

While in graduate school, Rachel won several research awards including a grant from the Illinois State Governor’s office for her groundbreaking ethnographic research with the Latino community of Central Illinois. Her research was later utilized by the U.S. Department of Justice as the baseline indicator for the Federal Social Justice State by State Report.

Rachel’s work has encompassed a broad spectrum of community & economic development. She has worked as a non-profit Executive Director, a researcher, a consultant, a grant writer, a trainer, a Senior Planner with Palm Beach County’s Office of Community Revitalization and served as Mayor of Lake Worth, Florida.

Rachel served three years in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer. Later she was recruited by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to return to the Dominican Republic to design a training course for municipal leaders.

Rachel created Palm Beach County’s signature leadership program REAP (Residents Education to Action Program) and the Neighborhood Partnership Grant Program. She has conducted charrettes for master plans, various neighborhood-based research, as well as community, social and economic impact analysis for NGO’s and municipalities in the US and abroad.

Rachel has presented at many national and international conferences including the International Women in Development Conference, Neighborworks America, Smart Growth Network, the North Atlantic Training Institute for Sexuality Health Educators (NATISHE), the Florida State Association of Code Enforcement, the Quad Cities Health & Human Services Association, Florida Festivals & Events Association, Florida Federation of Fairs, and others.

Ms. Waterman who is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese is an advocate for empowering residents to become active participants and leaders in the development, economic and otherwise, of their own communities.

Rachel is the Senior Grant Writer and responsible for all research methodology and data analysis.

Margaret Reynolds - Director of Funder Development

With more than fifteen years experience in coordinating fundraising and special events, Margaret Reynolds is a seasoned public relations professional in both corporate and nonprofit arenas. As a consultant, Mrs. Reynolds provides complete services, from planning to execution to wrap-up of special fundraising events, drawing on her wide-ranging experiences to build and cultivate relationships. Skillful donor and volunteer management allows her to be comfortable presiding at small, intimate meetings as well as managing more than 2500 walkers and volunteers at walk-a-thons. Fundraising events for local and national nonprofits have ranged from informal meet-and-greets to raising more than $400,000 at splashy, black tie galas.

Mrs. Reynolds spent 5 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, giving her a unique perspective on how to effectively reach target audiences through the media. Working as a national media relations account manager honed her abilities to get a client’s message placed in a variety of media outlets.

As a graduate of Barry University and with Master’s Degree in Communication from Florida International University, she is no stranger to South Florida. Her experience covers Central and South Florida – from Titusville to Homestead.

Margaret provides donor relations support and funder research for GDS grant writing clients and facilitates GDS Grant seeking workshops.

Rosanette Luther - Grants Manager

Rosanette is a proud, 6th generation Texan. While studying for her BA, she traveled by bus from Houston’s diverse Montrose area to theUniversity of Houston, through some of the state’s most under- supported neighborhoods, and chose to dedicate her career to improving under-served communities. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in history, she went on to receive a Master’s in AppliedCommunity and Economic Development from Illinois State University, and later, a second Master’s in Educational Leadership from theUniversity of Houston- Clear Lake.

Rosanette served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer working in municipal government development, first in Macedonia and then Ukraine. While in Ukraine, she wrote the largest grant Peace Corps-Ukraine had ever awarded to a volunteer.

Rosanette returned to Texas and chose to make her impact in the classroom, teaching at Furr High School, in one of Houston’s most forgotten neighborhoods. Determined to counter the effects of neighborhood neglect and overwhelming poverty on her students’ lives, Rosanette founded the Furr Community Development Group; she also obtained certifications and taught classes in English, English as a Second Language and social studies. Rosanette also created a Saturday School program which, in five years, graduated over 400 at-risk students, ages 16-26.

Rosanette has joined GDS as Operations Manager, bringing a wealth of experience and skills to our team.

Nate Kirk - Brand Manager

Nate Kirk is the brand manager and graphic designer at GDS, the founder of Brilliant English language school and co-founder of InAmerica Trade LTDA in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Nate has experience using Affinity Photo and Design tools to create content and brand imaging for companies in north, central and south America.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in communication, cum laude, from California State University, Stanislaus, Nate participated on the debate team, hosted a radio show on the university broadcast station, and tutored elementary students in the California public school system.

Mr. Kirk’s extensive time living and teaching English abroad in Costa Rica and Brazil has allowed him to improve his Portuguese fluency to an advanced level while building several businesses. His time abroad has also allowed him to build a supply chain network to facilitate international business from procurement to global marketing and sales.

Kara Walker Tomé - Arts & Culture Liaison

Kara Walker Tomé is an arts administrator with twenty five years experience in the non-profit sector on both the West and East coasts. She has worked in many aspects of non-profit arts management, including development, fundraising, PR and marketing, capacity building, programming and education. Kara's career started in her home town of Los Angeles, where she received her master’s degree from California Institute of the Arts and worked for model arts institutions such as Inner-City Arts and Armory Center for the Arts.

She then spent a decade as an integral part of the south Florida arts community through her work at Palm Beach Institute of the Arts, Armory Art Center, the Art Economist Magazine, and with hundreds of artists as an independent curator. Kara created the Showtel exhibition, renowned in the public and press over it’s seven year course. She also served on grant review committees with the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and as a long time member of the Palm Beach County Arts in Public Places Committee. In 2007 Kara was named an "Influential Person" By ARTnews magazine.

Kara returned to CA to manage a major public art project in collaboration with the city of Santa Monica and her alma mater. She worked with the commercial art fair Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC) and interviewed hundreds of artists in the LA art scene as part of the “GYST Do It” podcast she created. The podcast culminated in The Collectivists exhibition at the Brand Gallery, curated by Kara featuring sixty artists in collectives. Now, dividing her time between Coasts, Kara lives in West Palm Beach and is a consultant.