Making a difference in the lives of people at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri

Meet Melissa Eston, our Office Manager

We’ve added Melissa Eston to the team at the Thompson Foundation! Read on to learn more about Melissa.

Hi! I’m Melissa, the Office Manager for the Thompson Foundation.  I live in Fulton, but spent the last decade in Columbia, where my husband, Chris, and I hope to return soon.  My background is in non-profits, primarily in administrative support and advancement. I graduated from Columbia College with a BA in History and am a proud stepmom to a pretty great son, Davonte, who attends and plays football for Iowa Central Community College.  Go Tritons!

Chris and I have an accidental zoo – a flurry of little dogs, a shepherd mix, and an evil genius cat.  In my spare time, I like to cross stitch things from pop culture, read, and watch movies. My birthday is on Christmas, but Halloween is my favorite! I am so excited to be a part of the Thompson Foundation team because of the advocacy work being done on behalf of the Thompson Center and the families it serves.

800 800 Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment

Myles Hinkel

Executive Director

Myles Hinkel began as Executive Director in June 2020. Myles leads the foundation’s three-pillar mission; fundraising, awareness, and advancing public policy. Prior to this, Myles was Director of Advancement for Gift Planning & Regional covering the West Coast for The University of Missouri. This was Myles’ second time with MU Advancement. He previously worked in the College of Arts & Science before taking advancement positions at Columbia College and the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. Myles, his wife Lora, and their two boys have been involved in the Thompson Center and the Thompson Foundation since their inceptions.

Katie Lentz

Director of Donor Relations

Katie Lentz oversees donor stewardship and marketing for the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment. Prior to joining the Thompson Foundation in 2020, she worked for Major League Baseball’s nonprofit, the Baseball Assistance Team. Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Katie is a graduate of Tulane University and has lived in Louisiana, Florida, New York, and now Missouri. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, singing, and playing violin.

Melissa Eston

Office Manager

Melissa Eston began her role as Office Manager in August of 2022. In her role, Melissa receives and processes donations, assists in event planning, and manages accounts receivable and payable. Melissa most recently worked in Healthcare Advancement at the University of Missouri. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Strategic Communications associate in University Relations at the University of Missouri System. Her first experience working with non-profits was at Columbia College, where she served as a Coordinator for the Advancement division. Melissa is a Columbia College graduate with a BA in History. She lives with her husband, Chris, in Fulton. Melissa’s favorite part of working at the Thompson Foundation is seeing the tangible, positive impact its advocacy work has on the Thompson Center and the families it serves.