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Nichole Schmidt

President, Board Member

People always ask, "how do you do it?"  My answer is always the same, "knowing our daughters legacy has left an impact that can save many lives, that's what drives me." 

I'm a mom of four amazing children, though Gabby is not physically here with us, she continues to show us her presence through unmistakable signs.  My husband Jim has been my rock that helps me keep it together!  I'm an artist with a degree in Graphic Design,  loved my time as an EMT,  and have learned so much through working with kids with disabilities in public school as a teaching assistant.  Going to the beach is like medicine for me, traveling makes me happy and I find joy in the little things. 

Since my beautiful daughter Gabby was murdered, here I am, an advocate for change in the world of domestic violence and missing persons.  This path, one I never would have wished for or imagined, is what keeps me going when I see that "little ol' me" can help make difference in the world. 

My mission, my hope,  is to be a voice for victims, survivors, and their families to create meaningful change that can save lives, and help find the missing, in Gabby's memory.  

Be a good human, love more, do more, and give more.  

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Joseph Petito 

Vice President

My name is Joseph Petito.  I am the father of three beautiful children.  I have worked in the corporate world for over 20 years and have learned to become a good leader by never asking anyone to do something I am not willing to do myself.  After the tragic death of my daughter, Gabby, I am now the Vice President of the Gabby Petito Foundation.  Although new to advocacy I have seen the gaps that need to be filled when it comes to the missing and domestic violence.  I am determined and it is my goal to make Gabby proud of the work this foundation will do.


Tara Petito 


Hello, my name is Tara Petito.  I am a mom of 3.  I have two beautiful boys and one gorgeous daughter.  Gabby is my gorgeous stepdaughter, even though I never considered myself as just the“stepmom.”  She was my only daughter, she acted just like me and even looked like me, something we always laughed about.  After her tragic murder she made me realize life is short, spending time with loved ones and making memories is the key to a happy life.  She also taught me taking pictures help keep those precious memories alive.  

I was born and raised in Suffolk County, New York and graduated from Commack High School.  My educational background includes a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra University located in Hempstead, New York.  I worked in Finance for 15 years before deciding to move my family to Florida. I am an animal lover and love spending time with my family.  The beach is my happy place!

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James Schmidt

Board Member

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My name is Jim Schmidt, and I am the father of four beautiful children and married to the most amazing woman. My wife, Nichole has been an inspiration to me, with her strength and determination through so much adversity.

I have worked in emergency services for over 20+ years as fire officer, instructor, and emergency medical technician. I am currently completing my bachelors degree in Occupational Safety and Health with a minor in Fire Science Technology. My career has helped prepare me for many challenges in life, but nothing could prepare me for the tragic loss of our beloved daughter, Gabby. We faced many obstacles and experienced great frustration trying to locate her and bring her home. We are forever grateful for the help and support of so many people during the most difficult time in our lives. Though she is no longer physically with us, her spirit drives us to advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors, and missing persons. We hope through education and strong partnerships with other organizations, we can help make positive change.

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Richard Stafford

Board Member

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