Board of Directors

President: Carrie Higgins is the co-founder and director of Coastal Carolina Outreach. She was an educator for over fifteen years and has a master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision from UNCW. She and her husband, Brian, married in 2017, combining their family to include nine kids and two dogs. As an educator, Carrie always strived to create a positive, safe environment for her students. After watching her own teens struggle, she became even more passionate about the importance of programs that address the social-emotional and mental health of youth. She is overjoyed to see CCO programs come to life and having a positive impact on teens. Regardless of a teen’s circumstances, she wants CCO’s programs to be accessible to all. She believes that investing in our youth is critical to building a better future. When she isn’t working at her family’s businesses, developing the nonprofit, or leading Hope Rocks, she volunteers via Kiwanis and enjoys quality time with her family.

Vice President: Autumn Sullivan moved to Ocean Isle Beach in 2021 shortly after getting married to her husband, Rob. She was born and raised in Ohio and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2016. While at YSU, she joined the Center for Nonprofit Leadership program and learned about the great opportunities in the nonprofit sector. This led to a marketing internship with Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS), an organization that helps foster children find their forever homes. After her internship, Autumn continued to volunteer at fundraising events with NOAS until she moved. 

When Autumn moved to Brunswick County, she felt compelled to get involved in her new community. She started researching nonprofits and came across CCO. She instantly fell in love with their mission to improve the well-being and mental health of kids and teens. After meeting with Carrie Higgins, she knew this was a perfect fit and was very excited to be apart of the new organization. She looks forward to seeing CCO grow and watching the impact it makes on Brunswick County. Autumn enjoys going on adventures with her husband, relaxing at the beach, and most of all; spending time with her dog, Sully. 

Treasurer: Carrie Kinney was born and raised in North Carolina and has lived all across the state. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Greensboro College and spent 14 years in the education industry before becoming a real estate broker. She is currently the NC Regional Director with Fathom Realty and firmly embraces the Fathom founding principle, “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant to all.” She lives in Brunswick County with her husband, four daughters, and three dogs. Her family enjoys beach days and makes work-life balance a priority. She wanted to be a part of Coastal Carolina Outreach because she believes in its vision of improving the mental health of kids and teens through nature, connection, art, and education. As a mother, and former educator, she has seen firsthand the challenges our youth experience and believes that being involved in CCO is a great opportunity to enrich their lives.

Secretary: Samantha Rhodes has lived in Shallotte area for about two years now. She was looking for a way to get more involved in the community. When she found CCO, she knew it would be a good fit for her. She remembers how hard the teenage years are and how important it is to have positive outlets. She is so happy to be a part of CCO and looks forward to to working with kids and teens.

Consultant: Kate Day has over 30 years of corporate management experience in the high tech industry. While working, she has also been active in the non-profit world with many organizations, from serving as a board member, board chair and finally as an interim CEO of a global food relief organization.  She is excited to support the Coastal Carolina Outreach Board of Directors in reaching its mission to improve the overall well-being and mental health of kids and teens.  This particular age group has generally been underserved, especially in Brunswick County.  Kate hopes that the combination of her business and non-profit experience will enrich CCO’s operating model.  Kate resides on Holden Beach with her husband, Stephen, and their two elderly rescue dogs, Ezme and Pocket.

Consultant: Nicole Ellen

Advisor: Brian Higgins is one of the co-founders of CCO. Professionally, he is a Navy veteran, former police detective, and currently owns multiple small businesses in the area. Brian’s true passion is to help kids in foster care as he was involved in the foster care system for years, eventually adopting a sibling set of four. He grew up involved in many outdoor activities and wants to help kids get away from their screens and back outside. He is diligently working on preparing the land for CCO’s eventual home. He enjoys troubleshooting with anything mechanical, developing the land, and spending time with his family.

Youth Advisor: Zoe Stevens is currently a senior in highschool. As a teen, she gives a unique perspective to the board by representing the subgroup we are striving to help. She will begin working on her Associate’s Degree in Early Education at Brunswick Community College in the Fall of 2024. She plans to become a speech therapist. From her own background and struggles, Zoe knows how hard it is to deal with mental health issues as a teenager. Her enthusiasm, passion, and insight make her a valuable asset to CCO as it continues to grow. Zoe loves to read and write, do arts and crafts, and go for walks in the park when the weather is nice.