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Staff members release butterflies as a memorial to former volunteers.

Family, Guest and Volunteer Services Staff

Meet our St. Jude Patient, Guest and Volunteer Services Staff

Two staff member in the hall holding an award

Tricia Spence and Debbie Garrret hold the first place Memphis Most award that St. Jude won for Best Place to Volunteer.

  • Kathryn Berry Carter
    • Director of Family, Guest and Volunteer Services

    Kathryn Berry Carter has been at St. Jude since 2000. She first served as the Director of Volunteer Services before adding Patient and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) and Guest/Concierge Services disciplines to her team.

    As the Director of Family, Guest and Volunteer Services, Carter listens to volunteer and patient stories and suggestions and partners with caregivers to shape future policies and practices. Carter highlights the incredible contributions of our volunteers by aligning their work to the hospital's mission, values and strategic plans. Working with Guest and Concierge Services, Carter guarantees that our patient families have access to the things that make life easier like arranging for food delivery and helpers to run errands and pick up groceries.

    “Volunteers bring a sense of positivity, encouragement, hope and fun in what is otherwise a clinical environment," Carter says. "Our patient and parent advisers use their first-hand knowledge from their time at St. Jude to improve patient quality and safety, support other families on their journey, collaborate with and educate staff, and ensure that new initiatives positively complement the patient experience.”

  • Tricia Spence
    • Manager of Volunteer Services and Special Events

    Tricia Spence started her career at St. Jude as an intern with Volunteer Services while in college at the University of Memphis. She has worked for the department since 2008. 

    As the Manager of Volunteer Services and Special Events, Spence help plan and develop all of the hospital's community volunteer programming, including weekly volunteer shift roles, the employee garden program, and the Summer Volunteer and Volunteen programs.  All volunteer and special event projects are designed to enhance the patient and family experience.

    “I am passionate about volunteerism and love developing structures and processes to make to it easier for volunteers to help St. Jude," Spence says. "My role allows me to be creative and to problem-solve, while bringing comfort and support to patients and their families. It’s a win-win.” 

  • Brittany Barnett
    • Manager of Patient Family-Centered Care

    Brittany Barnett began her career with St. Jude in 2014 when she brought her considerable experience in hospital volunteer management and counseling to the Family, Guest and Volunteer Services Department. In 2017, she became the Manager of Patient Family-Centered Care where she leads all programs and initiatives involving patient and parent advisers. 

    In her current role, Barnett advocates for patient and parent adviser engagement to improve patient quality and safety, facilities design, clinical care operations, Quality of Care and Patient Experience. She is responsible for oversight of the Patient Family Advisory Council, Mentor Steering Council and Virtual Advisory programs. Barnett also works closely with Quality of Life bereavement services and the Psychosocial Services department in her daily work. Additionally, she manages the operations of the Parent-to-Parent support and mentor programs.  

    “I enjoy working with our patient and parent advisers to ensure their voice is heard as we consider patient safety and experience," Barnett says. "The advisers are incredibly inspiring to me because they give so much of their time and emotional energy to support other families on their treatment journey and for the betterment of the St. Jude mission. . No one can provide better insight or support to other families than someone who has walked the journey before."

  • Abby Cooley

    Abby Cooley


    • Coordinator of Patient Family-Centered Care

    Abby joined St. Jude in June 2021. In her role as Coordinator of Patient Family-Centered Care, Abby manages the parent mentor program and parent support initiatives, working directly with parent mentors to connect veteran caregivers with those currently navigating their St. Jude journey. Parent mentors walk alongside bereaved or active treatment caregivers to offer additional support, a caregiver perspective, and connect caregivers with resources available to them throughout the hospital. Abby also works directly with the interdisciplinary team to identify programming needs and creates new programs and support initiatives to improve the patient and caregiver experience.

    “In my role I have the distinct honor of working with former and current St. Jude caregivers who are truly the experts in caring for a children diagnosed with a catastrophic illness. Working alongside caregivers and the interdisciplinary team to improve the patient and caregiver experience at St. Jude is a privilege that I do not take lightly. Parent mentors are an invaluable asset to the St. Jude team as they give so much to help us succeed in providing top notch Patient Family-Centered Care.”

  • Hannah Crain

    Hannah Crain


    • Coordinator of Patient Family-Centered Care

    Hannah Crain joined St. Jude in 2018. In her role as Coordinator of Patient Family-Centered Care, Crain recruits volunteers, and facilitates and coordinates activities for them to give their time, input and insight to the hospital. Crain is the primary administrator for the hospital's virtual adviser community, St. Jude Voice, where she gathers feedback from patient families that she uses to improve the patient experience. 

    "As an information interpreter, I want to connect groups of people to new sources of knowledge," she says. "In my role, I get to use my creativity, my love for science and my genuine interest in people’s lives to help create an environment where communication flows between patients, families, clinicians, researchers and administrators.” 

  • Debbie Garrett
    • Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Special Events

    Debbie Garrett joined St. Jude in March 2018. In her role as the Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Special Events, she is involved in all aspects of community programming. This includes orientation and training for volunteers and planning the everyday logistics of all the St. Jude programs. Garrett is truly passionate about helping people find their passion for volunteering and takes joy in finding the perfect fit that helps them connect to the St. Jude mission.

    “Volunteers at St. Jude play an important role in the healing process for our patients and families,” she says. “They understand the situations they may encounter yet they are able to bring a little happiness and stress relief during some dark moments.”

  • Brin Schaechtel

    Brin Schaechtel


    • Coordinator of Special Events and Programs

    Brin Schaechtel began her career at St. Jude in 2009 as the Administrative Specialist in the Volunteer Services Department. For the past two years, she has served as the Coordinator of Special Events and Programs of Family, Guest and Volunteer Services. Schaechtel serves as a liaison between the St. Jude Women’s Club and the Ladies of St. Jude volunteer groups. She also works with the Patient Family Advisory Council and the Parent Mentor Program to ensure volunteer advisers have all necessary resources. She coordinates events for volunteers, volunteer clubs, the Patient Family-Centered Care department and hospital staff, which can include appreciation events, fundraising sales and education tables throughout the hospital.

    “I love being able to help volunteers provide value for our patients and families while also being rewarding for them," she says. "Volunteers do all the extra things that staff wish they had time to do. They bring some normalcy and a smile to patients and families.”  

  • Leah Brooks

    Leah Brooks


    • Volunteer Relations Specialist

    Leah Brooks joined St. Jude in April 2005 as the Guest Services Liaison in the hospital's main lobby. Currently, she serves as a Volunteer Relations Specialist where she oversees the administrative processes and procedures for the Family, Guest and Volunteer Services staff. Brooks builds relationships with the hospital's volunteers and assists them with requests. She plays an important role in onboarding and training our interns and volunteers. 

    “I’m thankful for the opportunity to support our volunteers and staff in a unique way," she says. "I’m always amazed at how giving our volunteers are.”