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, a network of state coordinators and Family Connectors who work on the ground in their communities to support schools and families, and Action Ambassadors who mobilize others to action.
Board of Directors
Program and Field Coordinator
Ali swapped the Colorado mountain scenery for the Chicago city skyline in 2019 shortly after she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Health from the University of Colorado Boulder. It was not long after Ali moved to the city of Chicago that she joined the AFHK team. As her first full-time position post-college, AFHK has given her the healthy, supportive, and fun work environment she always wanted.
As the Program and Field Coordinator at AFHK, Ali’s communication, organization, and creative skills allow her to streamline projects between all departments. You can also catch Ali on your computer screen via one of our many webinars or newsletters.
Nutrition and mental health have served at the forefront of Ali’s career interests ever since her work as a Health Coach for Denver Health’s Pediatric Lifestyles Clinic. As she dives deeper into the world of public health, Ali becomes more and more passionate about recognizing the importance of health as it pertains to the whole child.
In her free time, Ali enjoys singing tunes in her acappella group, scoring goals in her co-ed soccer league, and breathing deeply in her yoga practice!
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.
Director of Community Engagement and DEI
Prior to joining Action for Healthy Kids, Tyenise worked at the seventh largest—and one of the most diverse—school districts in Texas. After receiving her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas A&M University – College Station, Tyenise’s primary role the last number of years has been to bridge the gap between campus and community by educating stakeholders and providing best practices on how to engage families, build their trust, and create a long-lasting impact. Her passion is strategically empowering families through collaborative efforts and building sustainable, generational life style changes. As a family and community engagement subject matter expert, she demonstrates a proven ability to foster relationships with varied populations, particularly underserved communities, developing a strong, cohesive culture and climate.
Tyenise is key in driving efforts towards identifying challenges and providing equitable solutions. She has presented at the TX state and regional level and is known for delivering practical approaches in an engaging, energetic way.
If Tyenise is not Ubering her kids to practices, cheering at games, juggling her kids’ schedules, or crying (because her oldest child is now a senior in high school) she is relaxing at the beach, listening to music, watching UFC, or working out with her fitness family at the YMCA.
Chief Operating Officer
Allan was appointed Chief Operating Officer at Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) in October 2018, bringing close to 25 years of non-profit leadership experience to his work. Prior to joining AFHK, he worked for local and national organizations where he specialized in managing health, recreation, and wellness programming and general management operations for Jewish Community Centers in Chicago, Milwaukee, and across the US. He most recently served as a national Vice-President of Community Impact at BBYO, a peer leadership organization that serves over 21,000 Jewish teens across the globe, where he led a team of staff in multiple communities across the US, scaling successful programming across the organization. Allan is also a Senior Fellow in the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation Executive Leadership program.
Allan has a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management/Human Service Administration from Chicago’s Spertus College, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University.
Originally from Denver, Colorado, he has spent the past 25 years in Chicago, with his wife and now two teenage daughters. When he’s not busy at AFHK, he spends his spare time hanging with his family and close friends, cheering on his beloved hometown Denver sports teams, and likes to stay active and healthy walking his two loving dogs and running up and down the basketball court every week.
Charlene Burgeson, MA
Chief Program Officer and Active Schools Executive Director
Charlene Burgeson is Executive Director of Active Schools, a national movement to make 60 minutes of physical education and before, during and after school physical activity the norm in our nation’s K-12 schools. Active Schools is a collective impact initiative driven by over 90 health, education and private sector partner organizations and 36,000 individuals (“champions”) affiliated with more than 23,000 schools that serve over 12 million students.
Burgeson is a national leader for the promotion of children’s health and well-being through physical activity. For the past 25 years, she has provided national leadership as a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Executive Director of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), and Senior Director for Education and Health at Save the Children. The contributions she has made through these roles are grounded in her early career as a physical education teacher and youth sport coach.
Her personal passions include being a mom to her 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, participating in many sport and recreational activities, traveling, reading, and volunteering.
Family Connector, North Carolina
Frances Brunson serves as our Family Connector in Raleigh, NC. Frances brings over 17 years of experience as a Medicaid/disability patient advocate. She has been working as a healthy living/fitness instructor since 2007, providing classes to children and adults. Frances started a nonprofit (Taking it to the Streets Fitness and Nutrition), which also does healthy living workshops within the community. Frances is glad to join AFHK as a Family Connector to be able to improve social and emotional well-being of students by connecting parents with resources. Frances’ goal is to help families and schools focus on the health of the whole child, mind, body, and spirit.
Frances is also a certified youth conditioning and fitness instructor, personal trainer, life coach, Zumba instructor, herbalist, kickboxing/aerobic/fitness instructor, and is certified in yoga for chronic pain. She is extremely passionate about building strong healthy communities. In her spare time, France enjoys working out, gardening, cooking, dancing, watching old karate movies and listening to music.
State Coordinator: 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, Illinois
Denise Dyer serves as a Family Connector located in Chicago, IL. Denise is a school volunteer and is very active in her community through her ability to build lasting relationships between schools, parents and the community.
Denise earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management from Robert Morris University. She also received a certificate in Parent Leadership from Chicago Public School’s Parent Leadership Institute. Denise has devoted much of her time trying to ensure children in underserved communities receive an equitable quality education. She believes for that to happen, we must use a whole child approach and address children’s physical and social emotional health.
Senior Program Manager, Social-Emotional Health
Ashley joined the Action for Healthy Kids team in 2018. As Senior Program Manager, Social-Emotional Health, Ashley provides expertise, vision, leadership, and management for the strategic direction, implementation, and growth of social-emotional learning and health as a key element of the Action for Healthy Kids program model and AFHK’s overall approach to programmatic digital resources and learning sessions.
Prior to joining Action for Healthy Kids, Ashley spent her time with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society focusing on program implementation and community engagement. One of her favorite parts of this role was co-directing a week-long Youth Camp, for children with a loved one impacted by MS – where she learned for the very first time how to play gaga ball! An Ohio transplant, Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with fieldwork focused on social and behavioral sciences. In a previous life, Ashley was a preschool teacher where her creativity and a love for learning filled her classroom. Having completed her trauma-informed yoga teacher training, Ashley spends her time on and off the mat finding ways to empower others to build capacity and be their best self!
When not working, you can expect her to be off exploring with her wife, Caroline, their two cats (a brother and sister pair who think they are dogs) and dog (who thinks he’s a cat). In her free time, Ashley is often scouting new coffee shops, perfecting her waffle game, or opting to be outdoors – tackling a new adventure!
Family Connector, Florida
Colleen Gonzalez serves as a Family Connector in Orlando, FL. Colleen is the mother of two teens and graduated from Rollins College with a BA degree in Organizational Behavior. For over ten years, Colleen worked in the field of human resources. During her professional career she worked in the hospitality and medical industry as a generalist, manager, and director.
When Colleen’s children were in elementary school, Colleen learned about the cross-country running program at other schools and questioned why her children’s school did not participate. Colleen was informed that teachers must volunteer their time and fund their running teams. Simply put: no volunteers, no funds, no program. She knew that there had to be a way to take action for the kids in her community.
In 2009, Colleen put together an action plan to ensure her children’s school could have a cross country running team and had amazing success. In 2014, Colleen became involved with AFHK as a charity runner for Chicago Marathon. Over the years, with the support of AFHK, Colleen has led and mentored over 40 schools to improve health and wellness programing to include running clubs, health based family engagement programs, school gardens and youth engagement.
In her free time, Colleen enjoys time at the beach or running with family and friends.
Family Connector, Florida
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.
Project Coordinator - Chicago
Amber’s passion for holistic health and nutrition is what attracted her to AFHK, taking on the position of Project Coordinator in 2021. A Chicago native, she knows the ins and outs of the community and has served the community for nearly five years, working as a Community Affairs Specialist and Nutrition Educator at UIC.
Amber has a BS in Biology from Saint Xavier University and is currently in the process of completing a certification in holistic health. In her spare time, she loves to meditate; travel; collect essential oils; try new restaurants; and spend time with her friends, family, and her yorkie, Zayn.
Florida State Coordinator
Tashan Kilkenny was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Tashan joined AFHK in 2019 to support school communities in their journey to promote healthier practices and lifestyles. Tashan brings over 12 years of non-profit, youth development and social emotional learning knowledge and experience to the role. Over the years, Tashan has provided transformational leadership and guidance by implementing new community programming and executing various initiatives to create platforms for learning and development. Tashan most appreciates the way his career allows him to “pay it forward” for the next generation.
In his free time, Tashan enjoys traveling, trying out new recipes, and the weekly run of pick-up basketball. If you ever are up for a game, send him an email. Seriously.
Family Connector, Florida
Candace comes to the AFHK family with an extreme passion for the health and wellness of children, community, and family. Candace serves as a Family Connector in Jacksonville, FL. Her belief is that health is holistic; thus to aid one in achieving optimal health, best practice is to focus on emotional, spiritual, and physical methods. She uses a holistic approach when serving her birth support/doula clients to give the baby a healthier jump start at life.
Ending an almost 15 year stint with corporate America, Candace received her BS in Social Sciences with a minor in Psychology from Jacksonville University. She was fortunate to use her love of arts and creativity as the Arts Director with Boys & Girls Club while in school and decided connecting with underserved children and their families would remain in her mist. Merging her passion for advocacy, health equity, and being a birth support person/doula, she received her MA in Maternal Child Health from Bastyr University. She’s been an avid school parent volunteer, DCF Guardian ad Litem volunteer, Healthy Start Community Liaison, and specialist for a non-profit that’s dedicated to offering scholarships ensuring all children receive a quality education.
Outside of serving kiddos, her community, and schools, Candace takes pride in being a wife for 24 years, and a mom to three amazing daughters who have honored her with being “granny” to ten (twelve as of Spring 2021) even more amazing grandchildren. She loves doing renovations and creating home decor for her family’s hangout, “The Bird’s Empty Nest.” During her free time, Candace can be found enjoying dance parties, breaking it down to her favorite R&B/Hip Hop oldies, or cooking up some love in the kitchen.
Family Connector, California
Danielle began sharing AFHK with her community through parent grants in 2017, when she became one of California’s first Parent Ambassadors. She is thrilled to join the Family Connector team, serving as the Family Connector for Los Angeles, CA!
As a mother of four, Denise enjoys learning new ways to incorporate healthy foods and activities to help everyone feel their best. After becoming a UCCE Master Gardener in 2019, Danielle’s mission to sow seeds of health was reinforced both indoors and outdoors. Danielle works to positively impact her community and surrounding neighborhoods. Her commitment to community branches out in many directions. She serves as a board member for non-profit organization RuckusRoots, which provides sustainable arts programs to underrepresented communities throughout Los Angeles. She is also honored to sit as a Commissioner for Hawthorne, California’s Community Services Department. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, sunsets, trying new recipes and foods, a cup of tea with family, and playing board games.
Socorro (Sukie) Mendoza
Family Connector, Texas
Socorro (Sukie) Mendoza joins our team as the El Paso Family Connector. Family means everything to Sukie. She is married with two sons and two beautiful grandkids. Coming from a family of nine, Sukie understands the importance of communication and connectedness in families and education. Sukie has volunteered in El Paso Public Schools in both the classroom and in the nurse’s office. For the past 18 years, Sukie has taught pre-kindergarten, ages 3 to 5 years old. During her free time, Sukie enjoys spending time with family and volunteering at her church every Sunday. Sukie is excited to help build family-school partnerships as a member of the Action For Healthy Kids team and is looking forward to what lies ahead for families in the El Paso, Texas area.
Heidi Milby, MPH
Director, Program & Field
Heidi serves as the Director of Programs and Field Operations for Action for Healthy Kids. In this role, Heidi oversees a team of program and field staff that support districts and schools in their efforts to create healthy environments that foster student physical and mental wellbeing.
Heidi received a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Georgia and a Master of Public Health degree from Indiana University. As a former bilingual (Spanish) elementary school teacher, Heidi has experience working in urban school districts with diverse student and family populations. She has experience training school health teams on school wellness policies and school health/wellness best practices, as well as evaluating the coordinated school health model in urban and rural schools.
In her free time, Heidi enjoys exercising, reading, traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.
CO Family-School Partnership Project Coordinator
Stephanie has been involved in the compassionate service field for 5+ years and has developed a strong passion for the work. Her focus has been low-income, underresourced communities, and her experience has ranged from agricultural farm worker rights, mentorship, ESL & ELL advocacy, parent-teacher engagement and more. Growing up, Stephanie’s parents were immigrant farm workers who settled in Grand Island, Nebraska, and that came with several challenges. Every day, professionally and personally, is a reflection of what Stephanie experienced from her early home life. That encourages her to advocate and empower families in similar situations.
Living in Denver, Colorado for 15 years has been a unique journey for Stephanie. She has graduated high school and college (University of Colorado Boulder/Denver – go Buffs!) close to her suburban home. Upon moving here, she was able to witness how slowly but surely Denver has diversified and grown on its own in rural and urban communities! Stephanie is a LatinX/Hispanic 1st generation daughter of immigrants, multi-ethnic/cultural, bilingual, and a first generation Latina college graduate. Finding inclusive space to share her experience and story in Colorado was challenging at first. However, seeing how Denver is rapidly growing to become a more diverse community that intentionally holds space for all sorts of folks motivates her to use her voice and platform in an empowering way for herself and others. Joining Action For Healthy Kids as the Family-School Parent Project Coordinator for Denver is perfectly aligned with her community vision and mission.
Outside of engaging with the Denver community, Stephanie loves to cook and explore all the sciences and cultural stories of food (she’s pursuing a M.S. in food science), gardening, taking care of her house plants, sci-fi movies, HIIT workouts, reading, the occasional hike, interior and fashion design, coffee shops, spending time with her nieces, empowering the LatinX community through freelance writing and podcasting, and documentary binging!
Sofia Muchmore, MS
Sofia joined Action for Healthy Kids in September 2018 in her role as Database Manager. As a certified Salesforce Administrator and with over 10 years of working in the Nonprofit sector, she is passionate about using technology to create positive change in our communities. At AFHK, she works side by side with staff to maintain a database that facilitates successful programming and fundraising efforts which ultimately leads to more healthy kids across the country.
Sofia received her B.S. degree in Biology from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX and her M.S. degree in Conservation Biology from Antioch University in Keene, NH. She works remotely from New Hampshire, where she enjoys kayaking and camping in the summers and snowboarding in the winters.
District Wellness Policy 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!
Jillian Papa, MPH
Director of Research & Evaluation
As Director of Research and Evaluation, Jillian develops and manages the design and implementation of effective evaluation activities for AFHK programs. She is passionate about creating equal opportunities for all children to eat well and be well, and loves AFHK’s collaborative, community-centric approach to school health. Jillian received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University. Prior to joining AFHK, Jillian was an evaluation manager with the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity.
When she’s not working, Jillian enjoys traveling, hiking, music, and exploring Chicago.
Grace Perry, MA, RD, LD
Senior Program Manager, Nutrition
Grace is a registered dietitian with experience in wellness, education, food service, and most recently and extensively, child nutrition. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Master’s degree in Health Promotion, both from The University of Alabama. As Senior Program Manager, Nutrition, Grace provides expertise, vision, leadership, and management for the strategic direction and implementation of food access, nutrition education, and nutrition promotion as a key element of the Action for Healthy Kids program model.
Grace possesses a passion for the health and wellness of children and has devoted much of her time and energy to seeing these passions be given the attention they so badly deserve in schools. She has spearheaded numerous initiatives throughout her professional career in an effort to see children’s health and wellness be put at the forefront of educational priority lists. These initiatives have included educating students on healthy eating and partnering with schools and school system leaders to effectively implement strong wellness policies.
In her free time, Grace enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband and two young sons as well as cooking, running, and cheering on The University of Alabama on a fall Saturday.
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.
Family Connector, Tennessee
Kimberly Robinson is passionate about the partnership between schools and families and supporting children in a holistic way. She brings a wealth of education and experience to this role. Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis, carries a Tennessee teaching certification for grades K-6, and holds a Master of Business Administration with a minor in Project Management from Trevecca Nazarene University. Prior to working with AFHK, she served as the Family and Community Coordinator for Nashville Classical Charter School for several years. In this role she developed programming and seminars aimed at promoting community collaboration to benefit all students.
Alongside her work with AFHK, Kimberly can be found in Nashville, TN working as the Director of Administration at Linden Waldorf School. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and having brunch with her friends.
Family Connector, Florida
Luz serves as a Family Connector located in Orlando, FL. She has an associates degree in occupational therapy and has been an occupational therapy assistant for the last 16 years. Within the last three years, she has found herself passionate about health and fitness, where she is finishing up her studies to become a certified health coach. Luz also volunteers as a coach for her daughter’s cross country team and helps to distribute sneakers to families in need. She has also been able to effectively operate a food pantry and distribute food to families in need at her daughter’s school. Luz sits on the student advisory committee board (SAC), along with the PTA board for her daughter’s school and is passionate about school health and wellness.
Rich Roleck, CPA
Vice President, Finance and Administration
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.
Digital Marketing Manager
Lauren joined the AFHK team in 2017 as the Digital Marketing Manager, a position to which she brings nearly ten years of communications experience. Prior to her role bringing Action for Healthy Kids’ crucial work to life online, Lauren worked in digital advocacy for an education organization and in project management for a web company. She received her B.A. in Radio/TV/Film and Psychology from Northwestern University.
Lauren is proud to use her experience to engage people around the issue of making sure all children grow up with access to healthy food and healthy habits.
Outside of work, Lauren can be found volunteering as a crisis counselor and patient advocate, volunteering at an animal shelter, biking around Chicago, crossing locations off her travel bucket list, and watching (and critiquing) a lot of television.
Eva Sippola, MPH
Eva joined the AFHK team in 2017 and brings 20+ years of diverse non-profit, education, and public health experience and having managed development, communications, and policy programs for organizations in Edinburgh, Scotland, New York, and San Francisco. She is responsible for bringing donors’ passion to causes they care about through philanthropy by growing corporate and foundation partnerships to support new AFHK programs, as well as serving individual supporters through our major gifts program. Eva brings a love of movement to her work, having spent her childhood playing soccer and lacrosse and rowing down the Potomac River as a member of the crew team in college.
An occasional marathoner who has completed both Chicago and New York with AFHK’s Team Healthy Kids, when she isn’t logging miles chasing after her active son, Eva can be found attempting to Samba in Zumba. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Psychology from George Washington University and a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Education from San Francisco State University.
Dr. Cynthia Small
Family Connector, Texas
Dr. Cynthia Jackson Small serves as a Family Connector in Ft. Worth, TX and is extremely proud to be an advocate for families and a cheerleader for children of all ages. Dr. Small has worn many hats in Texas and nationally to help build strong families in schools, churches, and community organizations. Cynthia began her journey as an educator in the Dallas Independent School District where she previously served as a classroom teacher, campus administrator, and director of the district–wide parent engagement program. In addition to her assignment in Dallas ISD, she also served as a child development instructor at Brookhaven College. She has authored articles for Practical Parent Education, Dallas Child Magazine, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Cynthia is proud to serve as a Family Connector with AFHK and looks forward to impacting the lives of families and children through this amazing project.
When she comes up for air, Dr. Small enjoys reading, tennis, bowling and creative writing. Dr. Small is married to Rudy Small, her college sweetheart, and they are the proud parents of 3 young adults, Jay, Jessica and Jason.
State Coordinator: 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, Family-School Partnerships
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, Colorado
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 Program Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation, Youth Risk Behavior Prevention
As the Senior Program Manager for Monitoring and Evaluation and Youth Risk Behavior Prevention, Brean is responsible for providing expertise, vision, leadership, and management for the strategic direction and implementation of program monitoring and evaluation, and for youth risk behavior prevention as key elements of the Action for Healthy Kids program model.
Brean received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bucknell University. While completing a joint Master of Arts degree at Tufts University in Child Development and in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, she focused her studies on school and community-based obesity prevention for children in at-risk neighborhoods. Since then, Brean’s experiences have included program development and implementation to promote healthy eating and active living to children, as well as public health research including school-related nutrition policies, nutrition marketing, and the role of the built environment in community health. Before moving back home to the Portland, Maine area, Brean worked in public health throughout the northeast, including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. By bringing together communities, schools and families, Brean believes in the value and importance of giving every kid the best (and healthiest!) foot forward.
In her free time, Brean enjoys trips to the beaches throughout New England, cooking, running and exploring new neighborhoods with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Everett.
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.
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.
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.
Jean Ragalie-Carr, RD
Secretary & Treasurer
President, Dairy Health and Wellness
National Dairy Council
Jean Ragalie-Carr, R.D. is President of the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Executive Vice President, Dairy Health and Wellness for Dairy Management (DMI). In this role, she leads the development and implementation of nutrition strategies and relationship with leading government and non-government health, nutrition and school professional organizations. At the center of these strategies is Fuel Up to Play 60, an unprecedented initiative to create new opportunities to bring more nutritious, kid-appealing foods into schools, and maintain and further positive nutrition recommendations for children and teens. Fuel Up to Play 60 was developed through a partnership between NDC and the National Football League, aimed at incenting, equipping and mobilizing youth to adopt healthy behaviors, eat more nutrient-rich foods and get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Through social marketing and a comprehensive in-school kit, Fuel Up to Play 60 will inspire kids to make positive changes in behavior today to develop lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits. She has worked closely with government partners like US Department of Agriculture, Health & Human Services, Department of Education and the White House on the Let’s Move program. Ragalie-Carr also oversees nutrition and marketing communication strategies across the organization to support its overall health and wellness strategy.
Since joining DMI/NDC in 1996, Ragalie-Carr has been instrumental in programs addressing child nutrition, creating programs to promote child health through good nutrition and physical activity. She was one of four principal architects of Action for Healthy Kids, a national movement launched in 2002 with DMI as a lead sponsor. With then-First Lady Laura Bush as Honorary Chairperson and former Surgeon General David Satcher as Chair, Action for Healthy Kids set forth to address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. Ragalie-Carr serves as one of 12 board members and is treasurer.
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.
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.
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.
Jamie Chriqui, PhD, MHS
Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee Member
University of Illinois Chicago
Jamie Chriqui is a professor in the division of Health Policy and Administration at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health. She is also Co-Director of the Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy.
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 vice president.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lane joined AFHK in 2019, drawn by the mission to create opportunities for kids to be active and play. A former college athlete, Lane is a strong believer in the ancillary benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. He attributes athletics to helping him in his academic, personal, and professional life.
Lane is an investment analyst for Oak Ridge Investments, where he is responsible for investments across the technology space. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Lane graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History.
Sarah is originally from Boston, Massachusetts but has spent time around the world, including extended stays in India, Belgium, and Panama, studying food, nutrition, and environmental issues. She graduated with honors from Lawrence University in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and later became a Functional Nutritionist through the Nutritional Therapy Association. She worked on nutrition and mental health issues in London, UK, and learned just how interconnected the two are. Sarah runs her own nutrition business focused on healing complex health issues with food and lifestyle, and also works at Verde Holistic Wellness Studio in Pilsen, Chicago as a group nutrition class instructor and meditation teacher.
Sarah is so excited to be on the Auxiliary Board for Action for Healthy Kids and advocate for healthier school meals and programs, better food and nutrition literacy, and healthy food access initiatives across the city. Sarah believes that a combination of all facets of health, including nutrition, seeing children as unique, whole people, and ensuring safe, clean environments for work and play, is crucial for overall child health outcomes. Sarah will be starting her Masters of Science in Food Security and Sustainable Nutrition at Tufts University next year and hopes to change food and nutrition policy to make it inclusive, sustainable, and fair.
In her free time, Sarah plays the harp, and loves to run, cook, do arts and crafts, and teach and practice meditation.
Michelle is a seasoned communications professional with over a decade of international experience and deep expertise in the non-profit sector, most recently at The Rotary Foundation and Rotary International. During her time there, she helped raise millions of dollars for social impact projects around the world and oversaw more than 200 participants focused on expanding the organization’s brand awareness. Early in her career, Michelle honed her skills working for global advertising and branding agencies in France. She earned a Master’s in Global Communications from The American University of Paris and a B.A. from DePaul University.
Inspired by her international travels and by becoming a mother, Michelle is driven to help children from all walks of life reach their potential. She is excited about serving on the Auxiliary Board and furthering AFHK’s mission to create healthier spaces for kids. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and exploring new places.
Rachel is a young professional with a strong interest in social impact and supporting local communities. Currently, she works within the Chicago tech industry at a company called Built In, an online platform helping the top talent connect with local tech companies and find their professional purpose. With a degree from the University of Michigan in Environmental Science and Communication Studies, Rachel is passionate about understanding and raising awareness of the world’s most pressing sustainability issues. She has had various professional and volunteer experiences focused on healthy food access and food sustainability and is excited to be doing similar work with AFHK’s Auxiliary Board.
Stephanie is a values-based leader with a lifelong passion for social impact work. Currently, she is an account executive at Google where she is the trusted strategic adviser to the C-suite of several multinational companies. Prior to this role, she was a Senior Brand Manager at L’Oreal working on their flagship brand, L’Oreal Paris. She has more than 15 year of experience in social impact work, is a Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) Executive Scholar candidate, a mentor at the Cherie Blair Foundation, The Resolution Project and Micromentor; and is an associate consultant for Pivot Nonprofit Consulting. Integrity, commitment and humility are foundational pillars to all of her corporate & nonprofit work. She recently moved to Chicago with her husband and daughter from Canada.
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.