Our passionate and dedicated team is comprised of a board of directors and auxiliary board, a small but mighty national staff of professionals with wide-ranging expertise, and a network of Field Managers, Project Coordinators and Family Connectors who work on the ground in their communities to support schools and families. Interested in joining our team? Visit our Careers page for opportunities.
Staff and Field Team
Board of Directors
Just wanted to get out word that Isha Aamir (pronounced Esha) completed her summer internship and has rejoined us in her past role of Accounting Clerk. Isha is currently a student at University of Illinois at circle campus working on her bachelor’s degree.
Isha over the next weeks will be getting involved in the following accounting duties, bank reconciliations, credit card reconciliations, cash receipts, invoicing, and account reconciliations.
Isha’s interest includes travel, music, interior design, and cooking.
Maureen Bailey, MSc and MA
Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative Senior Manager of Professional Development and Evaluation
Maureen Bailey started at RMC Health in November 2021 and is the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative Senior Manager of Professional Development and Evaluation. She designs, leads, and manages the overall training and technical assistance strategy of the USDA FNS Cooperative Agreement awarded to Action for Healthy Kids in partnership with RMC Health and the Chef Ann Foundation. She also is developing the evaluation plan for the HMI Recognition Awards and Sub-Grants for School Food Authorities’ projects to assess the quality and impact of training and to inform future content and strategy. Before beginning this role in March 2023, Maureen was a Lead Professional Learning Facilitator and Senior Data and Evaluation Analyst with RMC Health where she developed and implemented procedures for effective data collection, management and analysis and managed the reporting needs for RMC Health and clients. Maureen also led healthy schools work and supported districts and wellness coordinators by creating and facilitating skills-based professional development that aligns with the WSCC Model and provided individualized technical assistance.
Prior to joining RMC Health, Maureen was the Director of School Wellness and Youth Initiatives at the be well Health and Wellness Initiative of The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities and was a high school teacher in Denver Public Schools. Maureen is passionate about health and educational equity. She has developed professional learning opportunities for teachers and school staff to support establishing and maintaining inclusive classrooms and has provided grant writing workshops to school communities looking to create community gardens and expand healthy living opportunities for students. She has also supported schools in writing wellness policies that increase drinking water access for students, provide healthy vending options, expand lunch times for students, and incorporate mindfulness practices and brain breaks in classrooms. Furthermore, Maureen has supported schools with policy and program evaluations.
Maureen has presented at local and national conferences, including the Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) National Conference on Child Health and Well-Being, American School Health Association (ASHA) 96th Annual School Health Conference, Midwest Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and she was invited to present at the 2020 Colorado League of Charters Annual Conference. Maureen has an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MA from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has a BA in Public Management and Political Science from Lindenwood University.
Maureen loves to spend time hiking with her husband, visiting national parks, traveling abroad and drinking coffee.
Imola is our Development Manager at Action for Healthy Kids. In her role, she is responsible for the execution of the organization’s annual development plan and focuses on developing meaningful relationships with a goal of supporting AFHK’s growth and mission.
Imola graduated as an economist with a major in International Development. She worked as a Management Consultant for five years before moving to the nonprofit sector. Coming from a corporate environment, she has demonstrated experience in end-to-end program planning and implementation, research and portfolio management. She is passionate about using her talents to support purpose driven missions and drive impact by helping people.
In her free time, she always enjoys a good cup of tea, reading and being outdoors – hiking or running.
Melissa C. Baron, Ph.D
Lead Professional Learning Facilitator
Dr. Melissa Baron started at RMC Health in November 2021 and currently is a Lead Professional Learning Facilitator for the organization. She provides professional development on designing and facilitating trainings, as well as providing technical assistance and trainings that focus on RMC Health’s efforts to create a culture of health and wellness in the K12 education system and partnering organizations. Melissa delivers trainings locally and nationally to adult professionals, providing high-quality learning opportunities.
Before joining RMC Health, Melissa was a higher education Doctorate and effective leadership developer who specializes in the design, evaluation, and implementation of learning programs to adults and youth. She was the Founder and Executive Director of the Bright Futures Club, Inc, a nonprofit organization that served Latino and immigrant families through interactive programs, series, and workshops. Melissa spear-headed the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs on topics such as bullying, healthy habits, effective communication, leadership, financial literacy, drug use, substance abuse, and mental health. She also served as the Senior L&D Director for Get Focused, Inc. helping increase participation, community engagement, and build strong relationships with partnering organizations, school districts, key stakeholders, and families. Over her 10-year career as a College Professor, Melissa has had the opportunity to teach an array of courses to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Teachers obtaining their Certification in Bilingual, Bicultural, and Biliteracy. Courses taught include: Sociocultural Foundations for Working with Early Childhood & Elementary Bilingual Learners & Families, Qualitative Research Methods, Child Development, Sibling Relationships, Senior Research Seminar, Experimental Psychology, Statistics for the Social Sciences, Development: Birth through Adolescence, Community Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, Learning Theory & Applications, and Introduction to Psychology.
Melissa was recognized for her passion and dedication to underserved Latino and immigrant communities by the Ford Motor Company in 2016 and presented with their prestigious “Mujer Legendaria” award for that year. She has had the opportunity to present her work at NAAAS & Affiliates National Conference, National Council for Family Relations, and various organizations in the Tri-State Area. She has partnered with local organizations to develop programing that directly supports the Latino immigrant community.
Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, graduating summa cum laude. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication from Kean University, graduating with high distinction. Melissa has her certification in Behavioral Modification, Mentor, and Parent Coach. Most recently, Melissa earned a Doctoral degree in Family Science and Human Development, where she specialized in Bilingualism, Native language-loss and maintenance, and understanding the lived experiences of Adults with Down syndrome within Latino/American Communities.
Melissa enjoys spending time with family. She is a mom of three and loves taking her kids out to the park, the pool, and many outdoor activities exploring nature. She loves to travel to new places, try new foods, and meet new people.
Rob Bisceglie, MA
Chief Executive Officer
I firmly believe that health is a human right and that our country does not act on that principle, which is why, as CEO of Action for Healthy Kids, I lead an incredible team that works hard to innovate and motivate schools, children, and families to make healthier choices.
It’s unacceptable that an entire generation of kids may live a shorter, less fulfilling life than their parents, so our work at Action for Healthy Kids, where I’ve been since 2008, is vital to changing the tide. I want to make the world a better place for kids, so I’ve held almost every job in the nonprofit sector and worked for many incredible domestic and international organizations that make a huge difference in people’s lives. I couldn’t be prouder to serve in this way.
My passion for kids starts with my own family, where I’m lucky to call myself “Dad” to three awesome kids: Caroline, Jackson, and Sadie. But it extends further to the kids in my community who deserve better opportunities, which is why I am an elected school board member and a coach for baseball and basketball. (My obsession with the latter started when I was a toddler, and I will happily share my thoughts on the excellency that is the Duke Blue Devils!)
Outside of work, coaching, and basketball, you can find me running, fishing, hiking, reading and spending lots of time with my kids and wife, Deb, who I met in the first grade thanks to Mrs. James, who sat us next to each other at Mohawk Elementary School surely not knowing how doing so would so greatly impact both of our lives.
I encourage anyone who is interested to connect with me to learn more about the nonprofit sector or join Action for Healthy Kids’ enthusiastic and far-reaching network of supporters and partners. There’s a lot of work to be done, and together we can improve children’s lives.
Lead Professional Learning Facilitator
Montana Brown joined the AFHK / RMC Health team in September 2023 as a Lead Professional Learning Facilitator, working to promote health and wellness in K-12 schools and supporting the Second Chance Program under the State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership. She brings to the team a true passion for kids and public education, driven by creating the conditions necessary for students to be successful in school.
Montana’s career began in the world of theatre, where she taught and directed at both the middle and high school level. Under her direction, students went on to be nominated for best musical in the DC area five consecutive years and performed at the Kennedy Center. She was recognized by the Loudoun Business Journal in the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Loudoun County for her impact as a director. She loved unique the opportunity to use theatre as a vessel for teaching students compassion, empathy, vulnerability, self-confidence, collaboration, and motivation.
Since relocating to Colorado, Montana has transitioned from the classroom to school leadership and administration, obtaining her K-12 school principal license and working as a school administrator. In schools, Montana’s guiding principle was to ask “Is this what’s best for kids?” when making decisions. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue to make an impact in student physical, social, and emotional wellness on a broader scale with AFHK / RMC Health.
Montana is a proud graduate of Catholic University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Colorado, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre Performance, Master of Arts in Education, and her Specialist of Education degree in Leadership for Educational Organizations.
Outside of work, Montana is grateful to be a wife and mom to two little girls and enjoys sharing her passion for the outdoors and love of the mountains with her family.
Field Manager: California
Natalie Camacho discovered her passion while coaching basketball for at-risk youth in Los Angeles. Until that point, she never intended to work with kids, but she quickly recognized the need for nutrition education, physical fitness, and social-emotional wellness in the communities in which she worked. At her own school, she revitalized the Healthy Behaviors Initiative and re-positioned the program as an HBI Learning Center in California. She lead a team of 15 that traveled to schools implementing curricula designed to increase inclusion, emotional support, and social emotional learning, addressing some of the youth’s toughest problems.
Additionally, Natalie has been able to work with educators at every level to diversify funding with the goal to meet the needs of the unique communities they serve. She is energized by building collaborations and partnerships that empower the communities around them. As an AFHK State Coordinator, her goal is to build capacity and bridge connections to schools, kids, and families to create healthier communities reflected in the wellness of individuals.
When not working, Natalie enjoys music, photography, and spending time with friends and family (she even spent almost 2 months living in the Brazilian Amazon doing volunteer work!). She also plans to witness in person at Cape Canaveral the rocket launch carrying the first woman to land on the moon.
Family Connector, White County, TN
Jerrica serves at the Family Connector in Sparta, TN. Jerrica is a hometown girl, born and raised in Sparta, TN. Sparta is located just between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Metro Nashville area. The small town of Sparta is located in the heart of White County whose population runs only around 26,800. White County is known for its bluegrass roots, family-owned operations, and welcoming atmosphere.
Jerrica is a mother and a wife of ten years. She graduated from South University in Savannah, GA with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. From there, she furthered her education at Tennessee Technological University by completing her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and an EDS in Leadership and Administration. She currently works for the White County High School as their Criminal Justice Instructor and Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator. In previous professional careers, Jerrica served as an advocate for many children in the Upper Cumberland through the MAC program at Omni Community Health. Later, Jerrica worked with Tennessee’s Office of Child Safety which led her to the teaching career she is currently pursuing.
Jerrica has since piloted a new Social Emotional Learning Program at White County High School with the help of an Action For Healthy Kids Grant. The grant has allowed the school to purchase an exclusive online curriculum through “Move This World”. The action plan that Jerrica created for WCHS states that the curriculum will benefit ALL students, faculty, parents, and staff members with the intent of building a stronger community. A healthy kid in a healthy home leads to healthy decisions, actions, and habits in the future.
Nutrition Program Manager
Family Connector, Irving, TX
Bethlyn grew up in a small town outside of Texas where she met her high school sweetheart and husband, Dillon. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2016 and has taught in Irving ISD for 6 years.
Sr. Manager of USDA Programs
Alyson has spent her 20+ year career committed to child nutrition initiatives, working with partners to improve nutrition security for families across the US. Alyson is a firm believer that collaboration, caring, communication and a culture of collective decision-making are imperative when working to strengthen school wellness environments.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry/dietetics from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada and becoming a Registered Dietitian, Alyson quickly realized her passion for supporting children and families and works to identify and understand the challenges and opportunities that exist in the pursuit of their reaching full health potential. Solutions-focused, Alyson finds great joy in achieving positive outcomes that are reflected in the well-being of individuals and communities.
Alyson lives in Southern New Hampshire and enjoys exploring the Granite State with her husband, two teenagers and quirky dog, Finnegan. She is also planning the backyard farm of her dreams but has only been successful in growing a handful of tomatoes so far.
Vice President of Programs
Lesley has an extensive background in the social impact sector, dedicating her career to making a positive difference in the lives of children and families across the United States. She has a strong track record of developing and implementing high-quality programs, striving to catalyze change in underserved communities and promote a better future for youth. Her expertise lies in program design and quality assurance, partnership development, and training design and delivery. With leadership experience across a diverse portfolio of programming, including areas such as health and nutrition, family engagement, school-based education programs, and early childhood development, Lesley has a strong dedication and passion for addressing various social issues affecting children’s ability to thrive and succeed.
Lesley holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Family Sciences from the University of Kentucky, and maintains a strong commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. She resides in Lexington, Kentucky (go Cats!) and is a proud wife and mother. Lesley enjoys spending time with family, is an animal lover, avid sports fan, and enjoys being outdoors in nature, whether in the woods or in the water!
Charlotte comes to Action for Healthy Kids as Grant Accountant. West Side Forward is a not-for-profit organization that provides training for Business Startups and Career Training for Entrepreneurship programs for the West Side of Chicago where she served as Financial Coordinator. She was responsible for managing financial support for the organization and monitoring oversight on varies contracts to ensure that the organization and City and State Agencies were complying with the guidelines provided in the contracts. I also spent several years in various roles in Insurance in Risk Management as a Collateral Analyst, Assistance Credit Manager in Credit & Collections.
In my spare time, I enjoy biking, bowling, card games and horseback riding.
Family Connector, Jacksonville, FL
Kimberley Harris serves as a Family Connector in Jacksonville, FL. In her role as Family Connector, she strives to bridge the gap between families and school staff to build trust and support. Her goals are to creating lasting partnerships that will improve the health of children through physical activity, nutrition, and social-emotional health.
Kimberley knew she wanted to work for a non-profit from an early age. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology along with a Minor in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University. Having suffered from childhood health problems, she is thrilled to return full circle in helping kids live healthy and fulfilling lives.
In her free time, she enjoys creating all types of visual arts such as painting, sculpting, woodwork, or even refinishing furniture.
Associate Manager of Business Development
Kate Havlik began working for RMC Health in May 2022 and is the Associate Manager of Business Development. In this role, she manages the execution of strategic aspects of the organization’s annual development plan, with a specific focus on developing new growth opportunities and strategic partnerships for new markets within the organization’s fee-for-service and product sales.
Prior to stepping into this role in April 2023, Kate was a Program Coordinator for RMC Health. She provided administrative, fiscal, and technical support for RMC Health’s programs, ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the Program Department.
Prior to joining RMC Health, Kate pursued a B.S. in Nonprofit Management with a focus in diversity and social inequality at the University of Central Florida. While completing her education, she interned with two different health-centric nonprofits, working for the National Alliance on Mental Illness to increase access to mental health education and care, as well as IDEAS for Us, liaising with the international Ugandan branch to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in-country.
Kate has a professional background in business administration, serving several private companies as an administrative assistant. Additionally, Kate has experience in early childhood education, having worked as a nanny to young children for several years. She is passionate about education around whole person wellness, with a particular focus on the intersection of trauma, social inequality, and long term health outcomes.
In her free time, you can find Kate enjoying various creative pursuits, including reading, writing, painting, and making music. She loves traveling and exploring new places through her camera lens, and will never turn down an opportunity to go for a run or a hike through nature.
Caitlin holds a Bachelor’s in psychology from Auburn University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a concentration in Health Behavior. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She has experience teaching both elementary-aged children and adults, and has worked in various avenues of health communication throughout her career. She is passionate about child development, bioethics, and community education.
She lives in Huntsville, AL, where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and painting.
Nutrition Program Manager
Jenna works as a consultant with expertise in child nutrition, local regenerative food systems, food security, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, and project implementation. Driven by a deep passion for raising the bar of nutrition integrity in school meals and fostering all-around healthy school environments, Jenna spent the first 16 years of her career at Polk County Public Schools, a large district in Florida, in the role of School Nutrition Director, as well as Senior Coordinator and Nutrition Analyst.
Her dedication to building vibrant local food systems and ensuring children have access to nourishing meals has been a driving force behind her work. It is this passion that inspired her to establish the non profit, Locally Grown Inc, to support Farm to School Programs in Florida. Jenna brings a strategic mindset to the work of transforming the landscape of child nutrition and promoting a healthier future for our youth.
Jenna and her husband are natives of Illinois and now enjoy spending time in the Florida sun with their son and their new dog.
Nutrition Program Manager
Emma Kitzman earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University and has a combined 15 years of school nutrition experience working within three districts. She has held every position from kitchen manager, nutritionist, to program Director. Emma also has held two different positions at the Arizona Department of Education as the USDA Foods distribution operations manager and fiscal operations lead advisor. She has held a seat on the School Nutrition Association and American Commodity Distribution Association advisory councils. Emma was fortunate enough to have worked closely with the Chef Ann Foundation as a recipient for a scratch cooking grant in 2018 and the Life Time Foundation for support to move toward healthier school food options.
When Emma is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids, and black Labrador Nahla. Running, kayaking, hiking, gardening and travelling are some of Emma’s interests.
Active Schools Manager
Active Schools Manager
Nick Kline joined the Action for Healthy Kids team in 2021 as the Active Schools Manager. He brings over 20 years of experience in the fields of physical education and physical activity. Nick began his career at the Cortland County Family YMCA where he had a variety of roles including Childcare Director, Program Director, and Associate Director. In 2005 Nick transitioned to the role of physical education teacher and coach in the Cortland Enlarged City School District. During this time, he was awarded and managed a 3-year PEP Grant that provided valuable resources and support for physical education teachers throughout Cortland County. He simultaneously pursued and received his National Board Certification. In 2015 Nick left teaching to support comprehensive physical activity at a national level as a member of the OPEN Development Council and as an OPEN National Trainer. He continues his work with OPEN while also continuing his role as an educator at SUNY Cortland as a lecturer in the Physical Education Department.
Nick received his bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College where he double majored in physical education and business. He received his master’s degree from SUNY Cortland focusing on teaching students with disabilities. His education and experience have fueled his passion to be an advocate for quality physical education and increasing physical activity opportunities.
In his personal life, Nick takes great pride in his roles as husband and father. In his free time, Nick enjoys being outdoors, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Sr Program Coordinator, USDA Program
Eva Knezic is a school nutrition enthusiast. She has a passion for engaging kids in cooking, gardening, and trying new foods. Eva graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a degree in Nutrition and Public Health. She has experience managing a school kitchen and overseeing children’s nutrition programs at a major foodbank.
Outside of work, Eva loves to cook, read, explore outside, listen to live music, and travel with her family and friends.
Human Resources Manager
Anna is responsible for Human Resources and has over 20 years of HR experience holding various leadership roles with global profit corporations that afforded her the opportunity to live and travel all over the world; technology start-ups; and most recently with a nonprofit that works to advance human rights and champion human dignity by providing services and promoting solutions to achieve a more just global society.
Throughout her career she has either held positions or volunteered for programs that support the betterment of children’s lives.
In her personal time Anna likes to explore one new thing (something she has not done before) every week. She enjoys traveling, swimming, live music, movies, hiking, and laughing everyday with her husband Jay, and all these activities most often include family and friends.
Leah Lessard, Ph.D.
Sr. Director of Research and Evaluation
Dr. Lessard joined the Action for Healthy Kids team in 2022 as the Director of Research and Evaluation. In this role, she provides expertise, leadership, and management for organizational data collection and evaluation.
Dr. Lessard received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health. Her research expertise centers around how adolescent health and educational outcomes are shaped by their peer relations, such as their friendships and bullying experiences. Capitalizing on extensive quantitative training, Dr. Lessard’s work employs multiple methodologies and utilizes advanced statistical approaches to focus on points of intervention across districts, schools, and families.
Outside of work, she enjoys exercising, watching sports, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Event and Conference Manager
Jaimie Lorick, CMP earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Florida Atlantic University in 2015 and has been in the events industry for almost a decade, earning her CMP certification in 2019. Her career spans from corporate meeting planning to trade show management to webinar programming and includes 3 years of experience within the ed-tech industry. After giving birth to her daughter in 2022, Jaimie’s journey through matrescence led her to become incredibly passionate about providing the best life for her daughter – which also led to her dedication to helping other children live their best, healthy lives as well.
When Jaimie is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two stepchildren. Her hobbies include video games, crafting, and being a dedicated fan of Taylor Swift, Star Wars, Marvel, and Harry Potter.
Associate Marketing Manager
Laura (pronounced L _OW – r aa ) First-generation Latina, with experience in non-profit development and digital media creation. Her background in brand awareness, visual design, and fund development inform her mindful but competitive approach.
Previously worked as a Development Assistant and Communications Coordinator at Connections for Abused Women and their Children, The Network, and Americorps VISTA.
Hailing from the southwest side of Chicago, she loves her hometown and all its intricacies. Her family is her number one priority and works hard to make them proud.
Natalia Martinez Avalos
Natalia was born in 2003 and is a first-generation Mexican-American. She grew up in Irving, Texas, and graduated from high school in 2022. Currently, Natalia is a full-time student at Dallas College, where she is completing her Associate’s degree and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the Fall of 2024. Her intended major is International Relations or Political Science. Additionally, she works for Irving ISD as an AVID tutor at a High School and Middle School. She also teaches swim lessons and serves as a lifeguard for the City of Irving.
Natalia feels very privileged to serve as the Family Connector in Irving and is excited to give back to the community that has given so much to her. Her goal is to guide children and parents in leading healthy lifestyles through collaboration, making connections, and creating a judgment-free zone for learning together.
In her free time, you can catch her with her friends at school, swimming, or reading a book she probably promised to read a year ago.
Associate Director, Marketing
Roxanne has a passion for collaboration to make a positive impact in the lives of youth and families. In her position, she leverages creativity and strategy to guide the organization’s narrative and promote the brand. She loves all things marketing and social media.
Roxanne earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Communications from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and a marketing management certificate from the University of Dallas. Over the past decade, Roxanne has led marketing and communication strategy for several corporations and nonprofit agencies. As a community advocate, Roxanne has also led education and health equity initiatives in underserved communities.
Roxanne spends most of her time outside of work serving as a youth mentor and coach, organizing community events, enjoying time with family and cheering for her favorite football teams, Florida Gators and Dallas Cowboys.
Barbara Mechura has been a school nutrition director for 33 years, working in both rural and metro districts. It’s looked different over those years of leading child nutrition programs, but she’s always been on a mission to engage kids in choosing healthy lifestyles and wholesome foods. In 2009 she completed a holistic health coach and then embarked on a mission to lead a district on a pioneer journey of transforming their kitchens and cafeteria serving lines into fresh fruit & vegetable wonderlands and training the staff to become engaged food coaches for students. Their efforts were hugely successful; together, Barb and her team built a student body of adventurous eaters and veggie lovers! A couple of secrets to their success were conducting repeated taste testing with students in the cafeteria, engaging student wellness teams, and promoting school gardens where all kinds of learning take place. Additionally, she led the remodel/rebuild of all but one of their 10 kitchens so that her team had the equipment and space to complement a from-scratch and local, whole foods focus. She’s shared her expertise and experiences across the nation at various industry and local food conferences, consulting work and organization training for those interested in the field of nutrition, local foods, scratch-cooking, child health, and school food service management.
Emily serves as an Evaluation Specialist for Action for Healthy Kids. In this role, Emily supports the measurement of AFHK’s impact by designing assessment instrumentation, collecting, managing and analyzing data, and developing reports.
Raisa Negrón, BA
Lead Professional Learning Facilitator
Raisa started at RMC Health in November 2021 and is currently the Lead Professional Learning Facilitator. She leads professional development and technical assistance to health educators. Raisa is also responsible for creating new learning content.
Prior to her role as Lead Professional Learning Facilitator, Raisa has centered her work on providing comprehensive sexual health, and STIs/HIV prevention to adolescents, specifically with LGBQ+, Trans & Gender Expansive young adults, along with persons struggling with tobacco, alcohol, other substance misuse to improve their health outcomes. Raisa served in key roles for initiatives focused on transforming school or work culture to improve systemic practices that negatively impact marginalized communities by building staff capacity to engage in evidence-based practices to include diversity, equity and inclusion that raise visibility, address safety, and create a better climate.
Raisa Negrón has presented locally and nationally including at the School Health Education Institute (SHEI), Head to Toe Conference, University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Medicine, UNM School-Based Health Centers, Stanford University PRIDEnet Summit, SHAPE New Mexico, and South Central AIDS Education & Training Center (SCAETC)- Project ECHO to name a few.
Raisa attended Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a concentration on Children and Youth. Raisa holds certificates as a Harm Reduction Specialist, Narcan for Overdose Prevention, HIV/HCV Test Counselor, SBIRT Health Educator and Health Coaching. Raisa is also a qualified Medical Interpreter and Trainer in healthcare. Raisa serves as an Ambassador for PRIDEnet at Stanford University.
Raisa is a foodie at heart, an avid traveler, loves dancing, and in constant search of a perfect pair of shoes. You can also find Raisa & her partner cheering their kiddo on the soccer sidelines.
District Wellness Policy & Smoke-Free Project Coordinator
Kristen is the District Wellness Project Coordinator serving El Paso County and parts of southern New Mexico. In this role, Kristen supports area school districts in strengthening district wellness policies and school level implementation of district policies to promote student wellness.
Prior to joining AFHK, Kristen conducted a network analysis of the Borderland Out-of-School-Time Network serving the Paso del Norte region of West Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Her experience coordinating public health programming in diverse communities has focused on advancing health equity by improving the environments in which we live, learn, work, and play so that all people have a fair and just opportunity to reach their full health potential.
A native El Pasoan, Kristen received her Bachelor of Health Promotion and Master of Public Health with a Hispanic and Border Health concentration from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She loves being from the borderland community, and, when not being out at a UTEP basketball or Chihuahuas baseball game, Kristen enjoys planting native desert plants and hanging out with her family! Go Miners!
Matt Otero comes from a versatile background, involving teaching, program coordinating, and student outreach. He’s an alum of California State University Fullerton and currently working as a Garden Educator for the Upland Unified School District.
Program Manager, Second Chance Program
Gabriela Perez is first and foremost a mother. Her children, Kiana Mireya and Gabriela Flor, currently thrive at the United States Armed Forces (USAF) and Community College of Denver (CCD). Gabriela was born in Puebla, Mexico and immigrated with her family to Colorado at the age of 13. She knew zero words in
English at the time. Her leadership journey began at home at a young age when she assumed the caregiver responsibilities of her three younger brothers. With the
support of key role models in her personal and professional life, she later realized the value of taking a leadership role within the school system through parent
engagement and involved herself in various school committees.
Gabriela values education and believes in the values and teachings that start at home. She has a passion for shared learning and leadership happening in a mutually rewarding and communal setting. Gabriela has a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Regis University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications also from Regis University. She has over 20 years of experience working in the public service sector at the Colorado Department of Education and has volunteered in the community with several non-profit organizations, including Art from Ashes and Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) among others. She currently volunteers at Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe).
Gabriela completed the Parent Leadership Training Institute National Facilitator Training, which focuses on civic skills of families and strengthens policy and community for children in 2012. She has co-facilitated Phase I Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) workshops both in Denver/Aurora at Children’s Hospital
Colorado and Arapahoe/Douglas at the Arc of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties for the last 5 years.
Gabriela’s mission in life is to create and embrace windows of opportunity that promote kind and compassionate conversations and facilitate dialogue among partners.
Chief Growth Officer
Supervisor, STEPP and Facilitation
Dawn is a passionate educator and champion of young people. Prior to joining AFHK, Dawn spent several years launching and growing college and career programs with Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. Dawn received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee and her master’s degree in recreation administration from California State University, Chico. A former college athlete and high school coach, Dawn is passionate about sport and young people having access and support to try new activities. Anywhere on, in, or near the water is her happy place. She also enjoys the challenge of keeping her teen boys well fed and evening walks with her husband and dog.
Family Connector, Borrego Springs CA
Office Manager & Administrator
Kitty joined Action for Healthy Kids in 2018. In her role as Office Manager/Office Assistant, her primary duties are to assist the Chief Executive Officer, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Board of Directors and serve as office assistant and receptionist to the entire staff. She has over 30 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations.
Kitty enjoys traveling, music, dancing, and board games.
Rich Roleck, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Rich has over 30 years of experience working with nonprofit and governmental entities and brings that experience to Action for Healthy Kids in his role of Vice President of Finance and administration. He is responsible for all financial reporting, budgeting and day-to-day operations.
Prior to joining AFHK in 2015, Rich worked with the National Dairy Council and as a consultant to AFHK for seven years. As the father of three girls, he has personally seen how establishing healthy habits with kids when they are young will stay with them through their college years.
Rich enjoys all sports but mainly football, basketball and baseball (especially the Cubs). He also enjoy working on his garden and landscaping projects and going for walks with his family and their dog, Tilly.
Ashley Sandoval, MS
Family Engagement Manager
Ashley serves as the Family Engagement Manager for Action for Healthy Kids. In this role, Ashley provides vision and strategy for our Family Engagement work at the district and school level. She oversees a team of Family Connectors and works closely with Field Managers to support the overall vision of creating effective family-school partnerships with district leaders, school staff, and families to create healthier communities for kids.
As a former physical education school teacher, Ashley has experience working in K-12 education where she passionately advocated for holistic health, progressive physical education curriculum, and food education.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys all things nature activities like hiking and rafting, reading books, and traveling!
Family Connector, CA
Helen was born in Wisconsin on a dairy farm, moved with my family to Minnesota where her dad opened a Dairy Queen, and when she was ten, to Fresno, CA where her dad worked for Borden’s Dairy. Even after all that exposure to ice cream, it is still one of her favorite things! Helen’s passion for kids and teaching began with three younger brothers, it continued with her two sons, and now with her two granddaughters, ages 11 and 8.
Helen attended CSUFresno and received a BA in Social Science, a Multiple Subject Credential, and an MA in Education Administration and Supervision. Helen has taught everything from first grade to high school and ESL to adults. She also worked in Fresno Unified’s Department of English Learner Services training teachers and facilitating workshops and conferences for parents. She has taught credentialing classes for two local universities and have supervised student teachers at her alma mater for nine years. Helen always believed children are not one dimensional and it is important to focus not just on academics, but on the whole child. The focus should include mental and physical health. This is why she is so excited to work as a Family Connector collaborating with school staff and parents to ensure more children achieve better health.
When not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, movies, and of course, time with granddaughters.
Emily Shore, MPH
Associate Director of Business Development
Emily Shore started at RMC Health in June 2018 and is currently the Associate Director of Business Development for the organization. She leads all external marketing, communication, and public relations with local, state, and national clients. Emily manages the partnership process for new and existing clients, as well as stewards the social media presence of RMC Health.
Prior to her role as Senior Manager, Emily was a Lead Professional Learning Facilitator, focusing on RMC Health’s efforts to create a culture of health and wellness in the K12 education system. She designed and facilitated skills-based learning opportunities and trainings for school and district wellness coordinators in Colorado. Additionally, Emily delivered trainings locally and nationally to build the capacity of adult professionals to deliver high-quality professional development.
Before starting at RMC Health, Emily worked for The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities as the Director of Healthy Schools for the be well Health & Wellness Initiative. Emily has always thrived working alongside communities to promote healthy living and has enjoyed partnering with various stakeholders along the way: students, parents, school staff, administrators, boards of education, departments of education, public health departments, and other community partners.
Emily Shore has presented at local, state, and national convenings, including: American School Health Association, Public Health in the Rockies, Shared Risk and Protective Factors, American Public Health Association, Rocky Mountain American College of Sports Medicine, New Mexico School Health Matters, and The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education (The Society).
Emily attended Colorado State University where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science and a concentration in Health Promotion. Emily graduated with high distinction from the Colorado School of Public Health Master of Public Health program. Emily is also a graduate of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program, Impact Denver, and serves on the SHAPE CO Board and State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education (SACPIE).
Emily enjoys walking with her two Labrador retrievers, running Colorado trails, playing with her daughter, Stella, and exploring new cities, towns and restaurants with her husband.
Sr. Field Manager: Texas
Michelle Smith is a marketing and research consultant who became active in marketing for school health when she became a parent. She is currently the State Coordinator for Texas Action for Healthy Kids and is Director for the Southern Obesity Summit, a 16-state working conference on obesity prevention.
In 2012 Michelle completed a project for Action for Healthy Kids with a goal of engaging middle school parents in wellness activities in schools. Currently she is working with National PTA and Action for Healthy Kids on a new parent engagement project, Parents for Healthy Kids.
Michelle is an active advocate for school health issues on a state as well as a local basis, serving as chair for the Partnership for a Healthy Texas for two legislative sessions. She also has served as parent chair on her local school health advisory council where she has served for over 15 years, as well as serving on the Texas Action for Healthy Kids Steering Committee, previously as Vice Chair since 2002.
Michelle was named the 2016 Texas Health Champion by the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. She has also been recognized as a CATCH champion, received John P. McGovern Award from the Texas School Health Association and the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Association of Health, PE, Recreation and Dance. She was named a Healthy School Hero by the Action for Healthy Kids in 2004 and 2006. When she is not working on wellness initiatives, she is spending time with her family, reading and taking LOTS of pictures, her secret passion.
Director of Development
Sean loves connecting people to causes they’re passionate about and finding ways to keep them engaged in the work. In his position as manager of volunteer initiatives, he provides leadership and strategy over all volunteer opportunities within the organization, including corporate partner/employee volunteer programs, school health champions, and Every Kid Healthy Week.
Sean received his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (go Illini!). He then spent a year as an AmeriCorps member running after-school programs and has worked in the non-profit sector ever since. After moving to Chicago in 2008, he worked for a variety of organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Chicago Cares, managing volunteer programs and events and developing strategies to connect people within their communities and help them stretch their comfort zones to try something new. As someone who has always loved being active and outdoors, Sean was drawn to AFHK’s mission and is excited about helping create more opportunities for kids to be active and play.
Sean spends much of his non-work time with friends and family, playing rec sports and dodging dirty looks from Cubs fans as a proud St. Louis Cardinals fan in Chicago.
Family Connector, Brush, CO
Amy serves as a Family Connector in Ft. Morgan, a town in northeastern Colorado. She and her husband Derek are teaching their girls, Cami and Carli, how to farm. Their family grows both corn and alfalfa, a type of cow feed. Agriculture has been a part of Amy’s entire life as her parents continue to run a family farm and ranch. Wheat harvest is her favorite part of farming! It’s a time for hard work and time with family, and it’s rewarding for the fact that they get to harvest what they sowed.
Amy’s other occupation is education. She has taught several subjects and age levels in a local public school located in Wiggins, Colorado, for the past 15 years. Her current position is elementary physical education, and her favorite game is kickball. Some of her favorite pastimes are going on bike rides, cruising side-by-side around farm roads and mountain trails, and hanging out with family and friends. Summertime is her favorite time of the year; nothing is better than shorts, flip-flops and spending time playing with the kiddos.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Payton is a social science researcher with experience in working with early childhood education and community programs within the nonprofit sector. Prior to Action for Healthy Kids, she worked in areas including kindergarten readiness, socioemotional learning, parent-child interactions, equity in education, and rural small business development. As a first-generation college graduate, Payton is passionate about improving the quality and access of education, nutrition, socioemotional learning, inclusive learning spaces, and physical movement in schools through the avenues of research and evaluation. She utilizes a community-based participatory research approach which elevates the voices of schools, communities, and families throughout the research and evaluation process.Payton earned her BA in Elementary Education and MA in Program Planning and Evaluation where her research focused on rural small business development, first-generation college graduate post-secondary success, and neurodivergent students. Outside of work, Payton enjoys creating, writing, reading, gardening, hiking, and meditating. She also enjoys exploring the world with her son Jude and her partner, David.
Rich Abend is a twenty year sports, health & fitness, wellness executive with strong track record in new business development, sales, consulting, media and sponsorship. He’s recently established a new expertise in software sales and b2b development in the corporate wellness and technology market.
Abend is considered one of the top health, fitness and wellness professionals in the country with 13+ years of dedicated experiences of direct consulting and the development of business programs in the space.
He spent 7 years at the Active Network, the leading sports technology and online registration engine that power over 200,000 events for 25MM health-minded, active-lifestyle consumers. First, as the VP of Integrated Sales, leading a team of high-level, client direct business developers who sell media, marketing and sponsorship programs to Fortune 500 accounts. In his last 2+ years, he launched Active’s Workplace Wellness platform and led development on partnerships in healthcare space and with enterprise-wide customers like Starbucks, Disney and Capital One.
Abend was key part of an executive team that helped concept and create Aetna’s first-ever direct to consumer product through Aetna Everactive (www.aetneveractive). Aetna Everactive is a strategic alliance between Aetna and Active to help people become more physically active through a social community that brings virtual health and fitness resources directly to employees to participate in real-life local events/activities. He also acted as Chief Revenue officer for Aetna Everactive product – responsible for developing strategic alliance partnerships to help drive revenue, new membership and sales of products, goods and relevant services.
Before that, Abend spent 4 years as a partner of The Squires Sports Group, a sports and entertainment marketing consulting firm where he lead all sales and business development efforts. He lead a team that worked directly with Rodale Press (Men’s Health, Prevention, Runner’s World magazine) where worked with over 70 sales reps to drive new business and revenue.
Dr. Kymm Ballard, Ed.D
Dr. Kymm Ballard, Ed.D, Assistant Professor at Campbell University & Kymm Ballard Consulting. Dr. Ballard runs her own consulting practice, offering 25 years of experience and networking to provide technical assistance on ESSA, grants, and policies in education, organizations, and corporations. Dr. Ballard is most recognized by her passion and networking for physical education. Her work on policy and legislation is driven by her desire to make a difference in this profession she loves.
Corporate Philanthropy & Social Impact Professional
Julie Bosley has extensive experience in strategic development and execution of philanthropic initiatives, community relations programs and communication strategies.
Most recently, Julie was director of philanthropy at Kellogg Company, providing leadership for its global signature cause platform, Breakfasts for Better Days. In that role, she was responsible for strategic execution, alignment and measurement of the initiative focused on hunger relief and food security. She also served on the Global Corporate Affairs Leadership Team and provided oversight for the Kellogg Company Fund and Kellogg Company 25-Year Employees Fund. Additionally, she directed the organization’s United Way campaign and the company’s community development and engagement efforts in the its headquarters community. Julie was with Kellogg for 14 years in various roles after joining the company as manager of corporate public relations
Prior to Kellogg, Julie was director of community relations for the Philadelphia 76ers and held a variety of positions in team operations with the National Basketball Association.
Julie received a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in business administration from Penn State University.
She is a member of the Action for Healthy Kids Board and is a past member of the United Way Global Corporate Leadership Advisory Council, United Way Worldwide’s U.S.A. Membership Accountability Committee, and the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region Board.
Cheryl Austein Casnoff, MPH
Portfolio Director, Health FFRDC
Mitre Director Cheryl Austein Casnoff has had a distinguished career in government working on health policy and public health topics, including work on Capitol Hill and in several agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Servicess (HHS). She is currently directing the Mitre health portfolio for the US Department of Health and Human Services including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She also served as a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago where she directed numerous studies focusing on children, Medicaid, telehealth, opioids and other key health policies.
Previously, Austein Casnoff served as the Associate Administrator for Health Information Technology (HIT) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where she established a new Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) within the agency to promote the adoption and meaningful use of electronic records. In that role from 2005 to 2009, she promoted the adoption and effective use of HIT among safety net providers and populations. Austein Casnoff oversaw the awarding of almost $100 million in new telehealth and health center network grants. In addition, Austein Casnoff led OHIT’s efforts to build enhanced technical assistance capabilities through websites and toolkits.
Before joining HRSA, Austein Casnoff was Deputy Director of the Finance, Systems and Budget Group at the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she directed more than 100 staff members and was responsible for the finance, systems, and budget for the Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with budgets totaling more than $300 billion. From 2001-2004, Austein Casnoff was director of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at CMS, where she was instrumental in the implementation of the $40 billion program, which provides insurance for low-income children. She was also responsible for designing CHIP in 1997.
In 2004, Austein Casnoff was selected to participate in extensive leadership and management training through the HHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and in 2003 she was selected as a fellow of the Council for Excellence in Government. Her prior experience includes service as director of the Division of Public Health Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and work as a principal budget analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at HHS.
Austein Casnoff has also served on the President’s Task Force for Health Care Reform and was selected as a senior legislative fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger. She has received numerous awards for her outstanding service, including the Hubert Humphrey Award for Service to America, the Public Health Service Honor Roll from the Association of Yale Alumni in Public Health, the Director’s Citation from CMS, the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, and the White House Certificate of Appreciation for Health Reform.
Austein Casnoff earned her M.P.H. in Health Services Administration at Yale School of Medicine, Yale University and a B.A. in Biological Sciences at Northwestern University. She resides in Fulton, MD. She also serves as a member of the Yale Public Health Alumni Board and serves as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Medical School where she teaches Health IT quality and policy. She is also entering her 35th year as the chief of the piccolo section for the Redskins marching band.
Kristin is a passionate business, strategy and marketing executive with a 20-year track record of cultivating high-growth businesses designed to have a positive impact on the health of our nation. Her experience spans the NYC ad agency world, a renowned non-profit, a high-growth tech company that went from a start-up to IPO to $1 billion private equity sale, and now, leadership of a B Corp certified behavior change marketing firm that is changing the way the federal, state and county health agencies, non-profit, and health care organizations approach our most pressing social issues across nutrition, food insecurity, mental health, maternal health, tobacco control and drug and alcohol prevention.
Kristin lives in San Diego with her husband and three daughters.
Laura Cubillos, RD
Laura is a partner and co-founder of FoodMinds, LLC, a leading food and nutrition consulting and communications company that specializes in harnessing science, public affairs and communications to meet business and public health objectives. Laura leads the San Francisco office where she works closely with clients and is expanding the company’s capabilities in the convergence of food and nutrition with tech and sustainability. She also connects clients to FoodMinds’ Global ExpertBench™ for international work, Issues and Crisis Navigation and Strategic Insights capabilities.
With more than 20 years of experience in food, beverage, nutrition, health and wellness, Laura has developed strong relationships with leading experts and organizations. She provides strategic counsel and insights to help clients – ranging from global entertainment and food and beverage brands to associations and commodity boards – navigate the rapidly-changing worlds of nutrition and public health. She works with clients to understand the intersection between food and nutrition policy and marketing, overcoming challenges and creating new opportunities.
Laura has created signature science-based programs that have shifted long-standing perceptions, grown sales, created new categories and established novel leadership platforms. Her expertise is wide-ranging and includes: leading global nutrition affairs programs for multi-national companies; building credible health and wellness promises and plans that deliver on them while growing demand and sales; nutrition research, influencer research and market research strategies and plans; developing sound science-based communication strategies and programs for effective thought-leader, influencer and consumer education; establishing and managing strategic partnerships; and overseeing teams that develop delicious recipes and conduct nutrition analyses and menu modeling.
Prior to co-founding FoodMinds in 2006, Laura was a senior vice president, group head in the consumer food practice at Edelman Public Relations in Chicago and a vice president in the food practice at Porter Novelli in San Francisco. Laura also spent time as the director of business development for WineryExchange.com in Chile and Argentina.
Laura is a registered dietitian and an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and several practice groups within the organization. She received her Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences from Miami University (Ohio) and completed her dietetic internship at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Laura lives in the San Francisco area with her husband and two children. The foods most often on Laura’s mind are cheese, crusty bread and olive oil, nuts, avocados and good vino.
Anastasia Fischer, MD, FAAFP, FACSM
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Ohio State University College of Medicine
Anastasia Fischer, MD, FAAFP, FACSM, is a member of the Division of Sports Medicine in the Section of Ambulatory Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Fischer holds a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Georgia and attended medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine before completing a family practice residency at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a primary care sports medicine fellowship at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. She is fellowship trained and board certified in sports medicine, and is a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine, where she has been appointed fellow, and currently serves as President-Elect.
She is active in the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics,the Female Athlete Triad Coalition, and the ACSM Strategic Health Initiative for Women’s Health. She has a special interest in research and advocacy regarding the adolescent female athlete, spondylolysis and concussion. Dr. Fischer is a volunteer physician with the Tour de Grandview and also serves as team physician at Groveport Madison High School in the central Ohio area.
Senior Director, International Strategy
As Senior Director, International Strategy at Walmart, Inc., Michael develops and advises on strategic planning activities across the global markets in which the organization operates.
Previously, Michael co-founded Signature Health, LLC, a professional nurse staffing agency focused on reducing the cost of care for clients while improving overall outcomes for patients. As Chief Executive Officer, Michael was responsible for day-to-day operations, and drove company expansion into three states. He successfully exited this business in 2020.
Before Signature Health, Michael was Vice President – Corporate Strategy with Principal Financial Group® — he led corporate development for the $17 billion revenue corporation with 4 global business units and 15,000 employees operating in over 70 countries.
Prior to joining Principal®, Michael served as owner and principal of Hamilton Consulting International — advising clients on the exploration, qualification and execution of strategic planning, sales and marketing efforts in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States.
Before starting his firm, Michael was Director of International Business Development for John Ryan Performance, Inc. in London, where he focused on delivering sales and marketing strategies to the global retail banking market. Michael has also held various global sales and corporate development roles at Carlson Companies, Target Corporation and Honeywell International.
Michael is a current Board Member as well as Lifetime Member of the National Black MBA Association® and a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC). He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The University of Northern Iowa-College of Business. He has previous Board experience with Variety-The Children’s Charity® of Iowa, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota®, the Twin Cities Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.
Michael is a Sloan Fellow having received his Master of Science in Leadership and Strategy from the London Business School. He also holds an MBA in operations management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Education Technology Consultant
For over a decade, Chris has been an advisor to educational leaders across the country. Partnering with top education technology companies (Google, Microsoft, SMART, Epson, and others), he delivers unique solutions to help CTOs, superintendents, curriculum directors and other school administrators reach their teaching and learning goals. Chris also advises leading architect and engineering firms on best practices for technology and learning space design in schools. Chris has served as an advisory committee member for Stillwater Area Public Schools’ Curriculum Committee and World’s Best Workforce Committee, along with Fusion Learning’s Transforming Learning Committee. All three committees work to foster equity and success for all students. In addition to consulting, Chris coaches AAU basketball and serves as assistant varsity basketball coach and head JV coach at St. Croix Preparatory Academy. Chris lives in the St. Paul, MN area with his wife and three kids.
Ann W. Marchetti, MS
AW Marchetti Consulting
For nearly two decades, Ann Marchetti has held leadership roles in several successful nonprofit agencies working toward a singular goal — improving the health and well being of children, youth and families. Drawing upon her unique combination of public policy, business and creative skills, Ann has assisted these nonprofits in optimizing their business models to build organizational capacity and develop sustainable programs. Ann was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service to Children and Youth by the National Child Labor Committee. This body remarked, “Ann has been at the
forefront of action and has been the voice to improve the health, education, well-being and futures of millions of children.”
Most recently, Ann served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the Cambridge, Massachussetts-based National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), which specializes in improving the quality of care for children. Since 2005, Ann provided leadership in building the organization’s marketing, finance, human resources and board governance capacity.
Prior to joining NICHQ, Ann served as Program Director for the Southern Institute on Children and Families (SICF), based in Columbia, South Carolina. There she also served as the Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids/Covering Kids and Families National Initiative. Immediately prior, she was Associate Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC). Ann earned her M.S. degree from Radford University.
Ann founded AW Marchetti Consulting in 2008. Her firm is dedicated to empowering a new generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector to develop effective systems for capacity development and program delivery. Clients to date include Covering Kids and Families Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana; DuPage County Health Department, Wheaton, Illinois; Health Choice Network, Doral, Florida; Health Management Associates, Lansing, Michigan; Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, Chicago, Illinois; Omni Youth Services, Buffalo Grove, Illinois; ShoreBank, Chicago, Illinois. Ann brings infectious energy and determination to her work, developing creative and sustainable solutions for today’s complex social and business environment.
Martin J. (Jay) McHale, Jr.
US Equity Services, Computershare
Jay McHale is the former president of Computershare’s US Equity Services group, the largest of Computershare’s business offerings in the United States. As the premier transfer agent in the US, Computershare offers the most complete and most comprehensive end-to-end investor services (Shareholder Recordkeeping, Investment Plan Services, Equity Compensation, and M&A Processing).
Jay has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Computershare in 2007, Jay was with Bank of Montreal/Harris, where his roles included direct management of shareholder services and trust divisions of those companies. Jay has presided over numerous complex business integration projects throughout his career, including significant acquisitions, divestitures and reorganizations.
Jay holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Finance from DePaul University, and also serves as director of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.
Indra Mehrotra, MS, RD
Retired as Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
Indra Mehrotra recently retired as the Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Research and Development Division at Cargill. In this capacity, she lead development and implementation of scientific and regulatory strategies that supported product innovation at Cargill to advance its various businesses globally.
Prior to joining Cargill, she had 25 years of experience with General Mills as a nutrition, health and regulatory professional. In her last position at General Mills, she was Director of Science and Communications for the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. In this role, she led nutrition science research strategy and programs for various General Mills businesses. In addition, she was responsible for health and nutrition communications for consumers and health professionals. Before joining the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, she led Nutrition Services at the Pillsbury Company directing various nutrition related functions that provided technical, regulatory, and strategic support to food and food service businesses.
Indra is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Institute of Food Technologist, and the American Society for Nutrition. She is a Registered Dietitian and a certified Food Scientist. She received her MS in Nutrition & Dietetics from the Northern Illinois University, and another MS in Nutrition & Food Science from the M.S. University, Baroda, India. She also holds a post graduate diploma in Food Science and Nutrition (with emphasis on food technology and food processing) from the University of Gent, Belgium.
Hillary Morgridge, CPA
Hillary Morgridge, CPA, Director of Client Tax Services, The Accounting Department for Nonprofits. Hillary brings ten years of nonprofit financial compliance experience in both industry and public accounting. She currently serves as the Treasurer of Impact 100 Metro Denver, as well as an advisor to the Morgridge Family Foundation.
Robert Murray, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Division of GI & Nutrition
Department of Pediatrics
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Dr. Robert Murray spent over 20 years in the field of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in the Ohio State University School of Medicine and most recently was the director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition. He also served as the pediatric medical director for Abbott Nutrition from 2003-2006. For 10 years, Dr. Murray was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health, serving as chair in the final 4 years. He is a Board member of Action for Healthy Kids as well as of the Children’s Hunger Alliance, and previously served on the Board of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. Dr. Murray is the immediate past-President of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development
John Musolino is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at PRA, a portfolio company of CI Capital Partners that creates local destination experiences for meetings, incentives and events. Previously, John served as Principal and founder of Avondale Capital Advisors, a consulting firm that provides strategic and corporate finance advisory services to independent and private equity-sponsored middle market business in a range of industries. John also serves on the Board of RHR International and has also served on the Board of Aquent Marketing Staffing, Concert Group Logistics and as Partner at Magnate Capital Partners. John holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University and a master’s degree in management with a concentration in accounting, finance and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management.
David Satcher, MD, PhD
Founding Chair and Emeritus Director
Director, The Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Center of Excellence on Health Disparities
Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health
Morehouse School of Medicine
16th United States Surgeon General
David Satcher is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. The Institute’s programs reflect his experience in improving public health policy and his commitment to eliminating health disparities for underserved groups and the poor and shedding light on neglected issues.
Sworn in as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States in 1998, Dr. Satcher’s tenure of public service also includes serving as assistant secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and administrator of the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Dr. Satcher has received over 40 honorary degrees and numerous top awards from the National Medical Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Additional honors include being named a Macy Foundation Fellow, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation. He serves on the board of directors of Johnson and Johnson, MetLife, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and locally on the board of United Way and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Dr. Satcher holds a BS degree from Morehouse College and MD and PhD degrees from Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. William Datema, MS, MCHES, FASHA, FAAHE
Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
William (Bill) Datema, DrPH, MS, MCHES®, FASHA, FAAHE, Retired, Lead Health Education Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Datema has served in education and public health for over 40 years. He has held several national leadership positions including Chief of the Program Development and Services Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health, Director of Partnerships for Children’s Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and Executive Director of the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education in Washington, DC. He currently serves as interim CEO of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) in Washington, DC.
Marlene Schwartz, PhD
Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee Member
University of Connecticut
Marlene Schwartz is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut and the Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
Administrator, Physical, Health and Driver Education
The School District of Palm Beach County
Eric Stern is the Administrator for Physical, Health and Driver Education in the Department of Curriculum for the School District of Palm Beach County, the 11th largest school district in the U.S. and the 5th largest in the state of Florida, with 185 schools and an enrollment of approximately 175,000 students. Additionally, Stern serves on the Action for Healthy Kids Urban School Wellness Coalition along with 19 other urban districts across the country.
As K-12 Curriculum Administrator for the School District of Palm Beach County, Stern was selected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2012 as one of 12 leading experts in the U.S. to serve on the first-ever National Urban Physical Education Leadership Coalition. The purpose of the coalition is to develop national research, professional development, and a best practice agenda for urban physical education. Stern also most recently served as President of the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport (FAHPERDS). He was also named a USTA School Tennis Volunteer of the Year at the United States Tennis Association Florida Section in 2012, recognized for championing tennis in his region and providing professional development for Physical Educators.
Eric has had the opportunity to advocate on Capitol Hill regarding the importance of including Physical and Health Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a core subject. He also has advocated continuing federal funding for the Carol M. White, Physical Education Programs grant (PEP).
Eric is originally from New York and is a certified Spark Middle School trainer. He resides in Wellington, FL with his family.
Lindsey Turner, PhD
Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee Member
Boise State University
Lindsey Turner is a research professor & Director of the Center for School and Community Partnerships’ Initiative for Healthy Schools in the College of Education at Boise State University.
Stephanie Whyte, MD, MBA, CHCQM, CHIE
Senior Director, Clinical Solutions Medical Director
Stephanie A. Whyte is a seasoned physician executive with multi-sector experience and a transformational leader known for building teams and leading innovative and large-scale initiatives. Currently a Senior Director, Clinical Solutions Medical Director for Aetna Medicaid, she oversees the medical team for a region of three states (Florida, Kentucky and Louisiana). She has previously worked as a health plan medical director; deputy chief medical officer; and interim/acting chief medical officer.
Prior to joining Aetna, Stephanie was the first ever Chief Health Officer for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) – the third largest school district in the nation. She established a new office to focus on student health and wellness policy and programming, with an emphasis on removing barriers to learning. Stephanie launched Healthy CPS – an initiative to streamline wellness policies and embed accountability measures. Also during her tenure, CPS became the first large urban school district to put undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors in each school for emergency use.
Before CPS, Stephanie served as the Medical Director of Mobile Care Chicago, where she spent over a decade caring for children with asthma in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods on a mobile medical platform.
Stephanie is a board-certified pediatrician and has been honored with the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” from both Illinois Wesleyan University and the Chicago Medical School. She completed her Pediatric residency at Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. She also holds an MBA in Public and Nonprofit Management from Saint Xavier University; is a certified health care insurance executive; and board-certified in Health Care and Quality Management. Stephanie is a native Chicagoan and lives in the metro area.
Ariel Bach is a happy 5-year-old boy living in New York City. He loves to spend time with his family and friends. Ariel is a dedicated student of TaeKwonDo and tennis, both of which he started when he was 3 and half years old, and still diligently trains two hours per day, six days a week. His extraordinary accomplishments and level of performance for his age in both TaeKwonDo and tennis has led him to be an official brand ambassador and a sponsored athlete for multiple TaeKwonDo and tennis-related companies and organizations. Ariel was an invited contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” television show and featured on ABC News for his charitable initiative through his TaeKwonDo practice. His goal is to one day compete in the Olympics. For more information about Ariel and his activities, please visit his official website www.ArielBach.com.
Ariel is an ambassador for Action for Healthy Kids because he is passionate about helping other people, especially promoting a healthy lifestyle and diet for children. This is the reason he decided to launch his own charitable initiative #KickingForHealthyKids, where he raises $5 for every hour he trains and donates profits to Action for Healthy Kids, whose mission perfectly aligns with Ariel’s passion.
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen
Bella Grill is a 16-year-old from Minnesota who has always lived a healthy lifestyle. She is the current Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen 2020 and 2021. This means that she is the state representative for Minnesota in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen scholarship program. She grew up very involved in sports, the outdoors, and extracurricular activities. In order to maintain the energy she needed to stay active, she needed to incorporate healthy living into her everyday life. This inspired her to share her love of health with her friends and community. Bella is passionate about teaching others how to replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy habits, one small step at a time. Changing what can seem to be small, insignificant habits (or micro habits) over time will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
A Junior at Liberty Classical Academy, Bella maintains a healthy lifestyle by playing volleyball, coaching her school’s dance team, and participating in competitive dance three days a week. She is a dance and tumbling instructor for children ages 5-13. She herself has been dancing since the age of two. Through dance, she enjoys sharing her message of a healthy lifestyle by being an active role model for others. She is excited about teaching everyone how easy it is to make simple changes to their daily routine to transform their health.
Bella is an ambassador for Action For Healthy Kids because she loves that not only does this organization teach kids how to live healthy, but also teaches schools and adults how to help the kids live a healthy lifestyle. Some teens and children don’t get the resources they need to live healthy, but thanks to Action For Healthy Kids, they make sure those children receive the tools and resources they deserve. You can find her on Instagram at @maoteenmn.
Fitness & Yoga Professional
Shauna Harrison is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. A graduate of Stanford, UCLA and Johns Hopkins, she simultaneously pursued academics and fitness obtaining her PhD in Public Health and teaching fitness classes across the country. Through her unique style and authenticity that blends her love for hip hop, wellness, yoga and knowledge of public health, Shauna has created a brand of her own, making her one of the most influential fitness profiles on Instagram and sought after partner for leading brands. Not only is Shauna the creator of Muscle + Flow, she is an Adjunct Associate at Johns Hopkins and served as a panelist for multiple universities and organizations covering the subject of Fitness, Yoga, Wellness and Public Health. Shauna is also a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a contributing writer for SELF.
Shauna is a passionate ambassador for Action for Healthy Kids: “I move between and across multiple worlds daily, but mostly I just move. I believe that movement power. I believe that knowledge is crucial. I believe that action is necessary. And I believe that, together, these powers put us in a much better position for greater physical, mental, and emotional health. And I believe EVERY person should have the opportunity to experience themselves through movement, to learn how to continue to learn and to feel emboldened to take action even if into the unknown. And we all know the earlier we can learn and adopt behaviors, the better. My alignment with Action for Healthy Kids is unquestionable; my alliance was inevitable. We are all on the same mission to help children lead healthier lives and I’m excited to join forces to Take Action!”
Author and Personal Trainer
Anne Jeudy is a mother of five daughters and currently lives in Forsyth County, Georgia. She is a lifelong athlete, from growing up skiing in northern New Hampshire, where she was born and raised, and playing soccer, field hockey, and softball, to now being an avid weightlifter, personal trainer, and soccer coach. Her inspiration for her children’s book, Maddie Makes Moves, comes from her love of women in sports and encouraging her own daughters to be brave and to never
Anne joined the Action for Healthy Kids team as an Action Ambassador because she believes that children who exercise grow into strong adults! In her children’s exercise book, she wanted to encourage children and their caregivers to get up and get moving. Anne has a degree in English from the University of New Hampshire, plays the trombone, and
loves to exercise with her family. You can learn more about Anne on her website , on instagram @maddiemakesmovesofficial and on facebook at facebook.com/maddiemakesmoves.
Chef and TV Host
Zoe Kelly is an award-winning, self-taught bilingual chef and food personality. She is best known for being a finalist on Food Network’s All-star Academy and on-camera host of various shows on the digital network, Tastemade. Originally born in Venezuela, she moved to the United States when she was seven years old and is truly living her version of the American dream.
She loves nothing more than sharing her passion for chasing dreams and connecting with people through food. As a self-taught chef, she is able to connect to home cooks in an approachable and relatable way, making the kitchen a little less intimidating. While working as a private chef, she’s had the pleasure of cooking for celebrity clients and working alongside world class chefs. With every meal she cooks, she hopes to create memorable dining experiences through her food.
When she’s not creating content or developing recipes, Zoe enjoys being a new mom to her son Raiden and spending time with her husband, Jordy.
Zoe wanted to be involved with Action With Healthy Kids because this cause is very personal to her. Growing up, her family didn’t have a lot of money when they migrated to the United States from Venezuela. When Zoe began school, she heavily relied on the cafeteria breakfast and lunch for her daily meals. After school, she would sometimes have to cook dinner for her and her sister as her parents were both working late to provide for their family.
As a new mother, Zoe now sees how important it is to be able to provide all children with quality, healthy and nutritious meals. As a chef, she also sees how important it is to not only teach kids early on about food but to also engage them in the process of cooking. One of her favorite moments ever, as both chef and mom, is to see the fulfillment in a child’s face when they try something new for the first time and love it because they cooked it themselves. Zoe truly believes when kids are given the right tools, knowledge and the space to try something in the kitchen, they’re able to start healthy eating habits early.
Zoe is excited to be partnering with Action For Healthy Kids to be able to provide kids and parents with the basic kitchen knowledge to create great meals in the kitchen that will turn into life skills and lasting memories. Follow Zoe on Instagram @ItsZoeKelly, Facebook.com/heyitszoekelly, or visit her website itszoekelly.com.
Personal Trainer & Fitness Specialist
Katrina Pilkington is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, Youth Exercise Specialist, Women’s Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor and Wellness Workshop Presenter also studying to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology.
Katrina was inspired to change careers after her own humbling experience battling poor health and weight issues. Growing up, she never knew the importance of physical activity and didn’t understand how big nutrition’s role would be in her life. Over time, she grew unhealthy and had to take steps to understand proper fitness programming along with ways to understand food’s role in her life. Now, her goal is to pay forward the knowledge she’s gained to be a catalyst for others to change the trajectory of their own health within her community. She and her family live on nutrition that is plant-based and incorporate most of their intake around whole foods to fuel naturally. Katrina has worked as a group fitness coordinator in multiple studios, has mentored and trained over 300 group fitness instructors and personal trainers all over the country, teaches classes, trains clients, and assists in leading workshops delivering nutritional knowledge.
Katrina is an Ambassador for Action for Healthy Kids because she knows that proactive change starts at a young age. She wants to empower and provide her community with resources and tools so that families and teachers can help children foster and implement a healthy lifestyle early in life. You can visit Katrina at fittykat.com, on Instagram (@fittykat_), Twitter (@fittykat), and Facebook (facebook.com/fittykat).
Ethan Taylor, from Rockford, Illinois, was overweight and obese most of his life. In January 2018, Ethan made the conscious decision to rejuvenate his health and wellness by taking control of his life. In 18 months, Ethan lost 184 pounds by eating healthy foods and by adding daily physical activity. Through this transformation, Ethan found a love for fitness, which led him to become a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. Ethan also successfully ran the Chicago Marathon in 2019 as a part of Team Healthy Kids, where he beat his goal time.
Ethan chose to become a part of the Take Action campaign as an Ambassador because he wants to encourage others to realize the importance of being in control of their own mental and physical health. He is extremely passionate about helping kids maintain or learn how to build healthy habits. Ethan also advocates to adults how they can lead by example by modeling healthy behaviors at home. Ethan’s mantra: We owe it to our kids to help them become the healthiest versions of themselves while we become the healthiest versions of ourselves! You can visit and follow Ethan on Instagram (@Ethan_gets_fit).
Family, Lifestyle, and Travel Influencer
Jeanenne Tornatore is a nationally-recognized travel expert, writer and TV commentator with a passion for exploring. An avid outdoor enthusiast and mother of three, she is always seeking to incorporate her passion for living an active lifestyle into both her travel experiences and her everyday family routine. Whether it’s planning a trip to one of our great National Parks or planning a neighborhood scavenger hunt, Jeanenne believes that encouraging kids to get out and explore is a powerful tool in developing lifelong healthy habits.
Jeanenne’s background in the travel and outdoor industries over last twenty years has given her a unique perspective on how communities, and even industries, can come together to create opportunities for the next generation to become active and healthy members of society. And as a working parent, she understands the struggle many families encounter in maintaining healthy routines among the distractions of daily life.
Jeanenne is an ambassador for Action for Healthy Kids because she believes in the power of partnerships and the spirit of positivity that are necessary to take on the challenge of educating schools and families through programs that will have a lasting impact not just on the health and well-being of individuals, but entire communities. Follow Jeanenne as she shares her insights and ideas about what she believes families need for their minds, bodies and souls: outdoor activity, healthy eating habits and a little bit of adventure! You can visit Jeanenne at TheOutsideInsider.com and on Instagram at @theoutsideinsider.