David Chayer, Executive Director
David Chayer joined the Missouri KidsFirst team as the Executive Director in 2020 after a nationwide search. David has over 21 years of nonprofit leadership and management experience. He previously served the American Red Cross for over 14 years in multiple senior leadership positions across the country, including El Paso, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Tallahassee, FL, Washington, D.C, and Corpus Christi, TX. David began his Red Cross career as the State Director of Government and External Relations in Illinois.
In addition to his experience with the Red Cross, he also served as the Executive Director for The ALS Association Texas Chapter where he led statewide efforts to help ALS families and their caregivers in their battle against Lou Gehrig’s disease, increase awareness of ALS, raising money for programs and critical research, strengthening federal and state advocacy efforts, and overseeing the ALS’ signature Walk to Defeat ALS events throughout Texas. Recently, he served as the Executive Director for the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence in El Paso, Texas.
Before joining the nonprofit world, David worked for six years in state and local government in Illinois, including positions with the City of Carbondale, Office of the Lt. Governor, and the Illinois General Assembly. In 2000, David was elected to the Divernon Village Board in his first-ever campaign for public office. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at Blackburn College where he taught State and Local Government. Chayer also served as a volunteer firefighter, and, for five years, served as the Head Cross Country Coach at Auburn Junior and Senior High School in Illinois.
Originally from St. Anne, Illinois, David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Blackburn College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He and his wife Zyanya and daughter Zyanya Dorothy live in Columbia, MO.
Jessica Seitz, Director of Public Policy
Jessica Seitz joined Missouri KidsFirst as the Director of Public Policy in 2017 after spending more than six years in federal government relations in Washington, DC. She is responsible for providing leadership for the organization’s state and federal policy work and building and maintaining relationships with lawmakers, government agencies and advocacy partners to advance Missouri KidsFirst’s legislative agenda. Prior to joining Missouri KidsFirst, Jessica was the Youth Development Policy Specialist for YMCA of the USA and also served on the government relations team for the National PTA. She began her policy career as a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Originally from Oklahoma, Jessica lives in St. Louis with her husband Ryan, an attorney and native Missourian. In her free time, she enjoys discussing politics with anyone that will participate and watching as much baseball as possible.
Jennifer Sommerfeld-Sager, SAFE-CARE Program Manager
Jeni joined Missouri KidsFirst as a Program Development Specialist in 2016 and is now the SAFE-CARE Program Manager. She is responsible for all SAFE-CARE program activities including SAFE-CARE contract management, oversight, and program development and promotion. Her passion for child advocacy and protection stems from her belief that power and privilege come with a responsibility to care for those who are vulnerable. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and previously worked as a research technician. Jeni enjoys good food, being active, spending time in nature and good conversation. She lives in Columbia with her three energetic sons.
Rebecca Bax, SAFE-CARE Program Specialist
Rebecca started working at Missouri KidsFirst in February 2018 as the SAFE-CARE Program Specialist and she deeply values the work of Missouri KidsFirst’s programs. As the Program Specialist, she assists the SAFE-CARE Program Manager in coordinating medical-forensic training, tracking provider requirements, maintaining provider records, coordinating the activities of the three medical resource centers, and communicating with active SAFE-CARE providers. Rebecca previously worked in the field of disability advocacy and holds a Master’s degree in History. She’s an avid reader and movie lover.
Board of Directors
- Harold Bland, M.D., F.A.A.P.
- Jason Call
- Rod Chapel
- Bryna Edwards
- Jack Jensen
- Chris Kelly
- Emmy McClelland
- Keith Ray Mackie
- Genny Nicholas
- Brandon Nicklas
- Jessica Pabst
- Steven Renne
- B. T. Rice
- Shann Sievers