I like to think of myself as a professional connector. Remember the marching band kids in high school? And the basketball players? Born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut, an incredibly diverse and culturally rich community, I was both an athlete and a musician and always seemed to find myself bridging the gap between unlikely social circles. Somehow I’ve turned that into a career. Enter United Way. After 4 years in Blacksburg marching to the tune of the Hokie Pokie, 7 years in Boston serving the city, working on a masters degree in public administration and wondering why people don’t pronounce their “Rs”, my husband Brent and I found ourselves in his hometown of Harrisonburg, VA. Since joining the United Way family, I’ve found myself connecting businesses and nonprofits; educators and health professionals, Rotarians and social workers, just to name a few, all in the name of a collaborative approach to change. I love my job and hope that my little ones, Lucy and Myles, will grow up and find work that they love too. We’re better together. Let’s do this.
Director of Business Engagement
The tag line for my personality type, ENFP, is "People are the product". As a kid, I thought I wanted to be a Marine Biologist- mostly because I thought sea animals were cute. As I got older,
I spent much of my time at camps and stepping up in leadership roles at school and at church, I started to understand that developing people was really my passion. I spent four and a half
years “brightening the lights” of my alma mater, JMU, in the Office of Alumni Relations, building relationships with alumni all over world to create opportunities to connect,
learn, and celebrate life as alumni. During that time I received my master’s degree in Adult Human Resource Development (securing my place as a “Double Duke”!) which
provided me a framework for developing people in the professional world. At United Way, I get the opportunity to make more of those connections while also improving the lives of people in the
community that I have grown to love. I couldn't be happier to be in the Valley, where my husband, Matt, daughter, Frankie, and I spend much of our time hiking, biking, eating, and enjoying
time with the best people in the world.
Coordinator of Community Impact
I’m new to the team having joined in August 2017. I started getting involved in the community in my home state of Massachusetts. After interning and volunteering at a number of
nonprofit agencies in the Boston area, I became excited about the opportunity to dedicate a year to service with AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps brought me to Spartanburg, South Carolina where
one year of service quickly became two, the second year of which was spent at a United Way. United Way’s mission to be a leader in the community, supporting the variety of work being
accomplished by nonprofit agencies aligns perfectly with my passion for uniting the community to empower all people in need.
Director of Smart Beginnings
“Every child deserves a champion. Someone who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can be.” That is the quote that not only embraces my work with the United Way, but also sums up who I am as a person. Each and every day, I want my life to make a difference in the life of a child. As a mother of two young men, I strive to use each and every moment as one of guidance for their personal future. As the Director of the Smart Beginnings of the Shenandoah Valley, I work each and every day to ensure that our community is aware of how significant the first years of life are. Working in nonprofit child care for the past 30 years, I have been able to see the impact that high quality early childhood experiences can have on the success of young children. With each year, and more personal education and professional growth, I know how imperative early childhood is to a person’s life successes. Now, as I work on my doctoral dissertation, I want to continue my advocacy through further community empowerment to prioritize early childhood as a foundation for successful future community development.
I came to JMU in the fall of 2013 to be closer to my older brother, who was also a student there. Little did I know that I would eventually find my sense of home in the Valley itself. It began in college when I joined Campus Assault ResponsE (CARE), a student-run organization through which I discovered my passion for advocacy and justice. Going on alternative breaks at JMU also led me to decide that I want to spend my life serving others. Since joining the team here at United Way, I have connected with Harrisonburg and Rockingham in a completely new way. I am thankful to have the opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much over the past four years.
I grew up on a farm in the mid-west where I learned the importance of a strong community at an early age. I was very active in service projects throughout my own community and enjoyed leading
and engaging others in these settings. I left my home community and moved half-way across the country to attend Eastern Mennonite University where I studied Peacebuilding and Development. I
quickly fell in love with the Shenandoah Valley and the food, outdoor spaces and activities it has to offer. I recently moved back to the Valley from Beirut, Lebanon, where my passion for the
Middle East met my desire to serve in community. I am excited to bring my enthusiasm back to the Harrisonburg and Rockingham communities.
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