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Jodi O'Donnell-Ames

Founder and Community Engagement Director

Jodi O’Donnell-Ames is a certified teacher, writer, massage therapist, member of Union Fire Co. and Rescue Squad and tireless advocate for those affected by ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). She lives with her husband, Benton, and their three amazing children in Titusville, NJ.

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Cara Haggerty

Executive Director 

Cara Haggerty is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor's Degree in English and minors in Marketing and Psychology. She joined the HLC team soon after watching a friend lose a loved one to ALS. She lives in Princeton, NJ and is proud to be a part of the HLC Team.

Nicole Russano

Program Director

Nicole Russano is a native of the Mercer County area, currently residing in Pennington, NJ. Nicole oversees all HLC programming, including all things Camp HLC! She has two children, Alexandria and Damian. She is a full-time dance mom, part-time actor in local theater and enjoys traveling as much as possible. 


Ryan Matthews

Advancement Officer

Ryan Matthews serves as the Director of Community Programs with Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, where he is charged with leading Connecticut’s largest one-to-one, community-based youth mentoring program, which serves well over 510 children across Nutmeg’s132 town service area. Ryan also serves as the Executive Director of The Susie Foundation, an organization which he founded following his mother’s death to support families struggling with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Ryan graduated Magna Cum  Laude from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a BA in History and Political and received his MPA  in Nonprofit Management from the University of Connecticut in 2016.

Board of Directors


Tracey Vasile


Tracey is the Vice President of Client Engagement at Verisk Analytics in Foxboro, MA, where she lives. She was a close friend and dedicated caregiver to the late Susan Anderson and learned first hand the effect that ALS has on an entire family during that life-changing experience. 

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Gary Bachrach

Vice President

Gary is the Executive Director of Home Care Business Development at the Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. He has spent his career focused on providing solutions to improve patient outcomes and safety for patients and caregivers. Gary has been impacted by ALS through the loss of several friends and is committed to helping HLC reach more children and young adults who are coping with family members battling ALS.


Paul Grote


Paul Grote is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and is a retired Certified Public Accountant in New Jersey. He has over 40 years of accounting experience as a Manager, Controller and Director of Finance, mostly in non-profit accounting.  Paul hopes that his accounting expertise will assist HLC in continuing its growth and its ongoing ability to meet its mission to provide services to the ALS community.


Warren "Benton" Ames


Warren “Benton” Ames is a car guy from ‘day one’. He currently does research work for ExxonMobil Corp. He also fights back against the disease that claimed a loved one, in hopes of providing the help that wasn’t there when his own children needed it.

First Wednesday of the month

7 PM EST via Zoom


Dr. Michael Palmer, PHD

Board Member

Dr. Palmer is the director of Healthmark Counseling, LLC; a private outpatient mental health practice in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Dr. Palmer is a lecturer, consultant, and is a member of the NJ Dept. of Children and Families strategic planning committee to prevent domestic violence. He hopes to contribute to the growth and expansion of HLC and its mission.


Linda A. Osman, Esq.

Board Member


Linda A. Osman, Esq. is an attorney with a private practice in Chesterfield, NJ since 1994. A general practitioner, she represents clients in real estate (commercial and residential), family law, estate matters, corporate, landlord/ tenant, land use, municipal court and more. She is hopeful this diverse background enables her to assist HLC achieve its goals.


Craig and Kristen Colby

Board Members

Craig and Kristen Colby join Hope Loves Company from Delaware! They've met with all the elected officials of their State, making ALS a top priority for Delaware.  They've been part of the ALS community for the last 11 years. Craig was diagnosed in 2008 after 14 months of diagnosis.  They've been fighting for ALS warriors and their families since! In 2017 Craig started his scholarship for children affected by ALS.  

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Richard Sperry

Board Member

Mr. Sperry is Vice President, Executive Office at Novo Nordisk Inc. He serves as chief-of-staff to the Executive Vice President North America Operations and President of Novo Nordisk Inc. and leads key enterprise-wide strategic and operational initiatives. Mr. Sperry has over 18 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. He has worked in both the U.S. affiliate and in Novo Nordisk’s Region Europe headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Georgetown University, an MBA from  Columbia Business School, and a Certificate of Professional Development from The  Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He resides in Pennington, NJ with his wife Maria and their three daughters. 


Phil Calamia

Board Member

Phil is an independent consultant and brings a wealth of experience with him having been involved with technology organizations ranging from start-up to publicly traded companies throughout his career.  Phil has extensive experience helping Boards, Investors and management teams navigate through transitions while determining and achieving desired results including raising capital, initial public offerings and numerous acquisitions and divestitures.


Mackenzie Anderson

Board Member


Mackenzie is a recent 2020 graduate of Penn State University and now works as a Human Capital Analyst for Deloitte Consulting in Boston. Having attended Camp HLC herself, she is thrilled to continue to give back for years to come through the Board of Directors. Her background as not only a caregiver for her mom, but also as an international ALS advocate and fundraiser, will lend itself greatly to this position.

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Sara Cooper

Board Member

1962 - 2021

Founder of Cooper Creative Group, Sara was a project management and marketing professional who was deeply committed to her community. She enthusiastically served on non-profit boards & committees in various capacities with a focus on fundraising, marketing/public relations and governance. Sara's mission and memory lives on through the Sara E.K. Cooper Scholarship for youth affected by ALS.


Jennifer Mizzone

Board Member

Jen Mizzone is a parent and lost her late husband, Mike, to ALS. Jen and Mike's story was featured in the documentary, Prescription for Peace of Mind: An Option for the Terminally Ill, which you can watch here.


Diane Smith

Board Member

Diane has over 30 years of global Human Resources executive leadership experience.  She  has been responsible for all facets of human resources. She has industry knowledge and experience in health care, banking, manufacturing and cybersecurity. Diane holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a concentration in Human Resources Management from the University of Baltimore. She resides in Harford County, Maryland with her husband and two adult children.

Board of Advisors


Keiren Dunfee

Board Member

Dr. Keiren Dunfee is a Client Communications Graphic Designer with Corporate Strategies and Keiren Dunfee Graphics. She is proud to be captain O'Donnell-Ames, one of the top fundraising teams at the ALS Out and Back Run in Philadelphia.

Dr. Ron Suzuki, M.D.

Board Member


Ron is a family practitioner and has offices in Pennington and Plainsboro, NJ. He is also an acupuncturist. He is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. Ron has volunteered at Camp HLC and is happy to be part of the Board!

Jack Tatar

Advisory Board Member

Jack Tatar is managing partner of Doyle Capital, a venture fund that invests in early stage companies in the “transformative technology” sectors of crypto assets, blockchain, distributed computing, AI and others. He’s the co-author of the current best seller, Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond (McGraw Hill, 2017) and the first book published on Bitcoin, What's the Deal with Bitcoins? (2013) as well as books on retirement including Safe 4 Retirement: The Four Keys to Your Safe Retirement.

John Heller

Advisory Board Member

John Heller is a self-employed business owner and Founder of POINTE PROPERTIES, L.L.C., a Real-Estate investment and renovation company.  Previous owner of the Riverton Health & Fitness Center, and utility Executive with EXELON CORPORATION/PECO ENERGY COMPANY.  

Heidi Brim

Advisory Board Member

Heidi is an accountant with Princeton Financial Group, LLC, and has over 25 years of experience working with small businesses, including several non-profit organizations.  “I am honored to have been part of HLC since 2013, to watch it grow, and to work with all these incredible individuals.”    


Jamie Bachrach

Advisory Board Member

Jamie is a senior communications specialist with Hollister Incorporated leading internal communications. She has a strong background in communication and administration, event planning and fundraising. After volunteering at the first Camp HLC held in Chicago in the fall of 2019, Jamie committed to making a larger impact with HLC. Jamie has experienced the loss of several friends to ALS and is determined to help HLC reach more families through their programs.

Linda Cassidy
Advisory Board Member

Linda Cassidy is a self-employed Environmental Health and Safety Consultant.  She has 20 years of safety experience, working mainly with laboratories and healthcare facilities. She has also worked with various non-profit

organizations. Linda is thrilled to be a part of Hope Loves Company!

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Christine (O'Shea) Powers

Board Member


Christine (O'Shea) Powers is a Boston native now living on the South Shore in Braintree with her husband (of 23 years) Tom Powers and Fur Baby Austin Powers.
She is a retail buyer by day and by night is a fitness instructor (4 nights a week)  with many hobbies. Balancing a work life balance is extremely important to her.


Charnelle Bain

Advisory Board Member

Charnelle & her husband have been the proud owners of Simply Elegant Events (event planning /catering) Company for many years. She is the mother of two beautiful daughters. After working for the Mental Heath Association of Essex County for 14 years. She has now transitioned  into a full time caregiver role in 2019 to her husband that has been living with ALS for the past 3 1/2 years. 

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Claudiu Leverenz

Board Member

Claudiu Leverenz studied information systems at the Technical University of Munich in Germany with exchange studies in the US and Australia. In 2015, during his studies, he started the project Munevo. The company was then founded in 2018 and is dealing with a new type of special steering for electrical wheelchairs which is now based on the use of smart glasses like Google Glass. He has been nominated on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list, in the category Science & Healthcare.