Jane Moen, BS, MS, RBT
ALC Founder & Executive Director
Chair: Executive Committee
Member: Governance Committee;
Employment Programs Working Group;
Nest Gatherings and Social Activities Working Group;
Fundraising Working Group;
Jane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications from Rhode Island College as well as a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Jane has worked in many aspects of vocational rehabilitation assessment, case management and counseling for individuals with disabilities. She has been a program director for several Connecticut youth and family service organizations with a focus on positive youth development activities including substance abuse prevention, dating violence prevention and leadership development.
Before founding A Little Compassion Inc. in the spring of 2018 Jane worked within a special needs middle school classroom in Old Lyme, CT. Jane received her RBT (Registered Behavioral Technician) certification and supported the educational, social and emotional needs of young adults impacted by autism, intellectual, developmental disabilities, ADHD, depression and anxiety.
Jane is married to Luther Moen and is the proud mother of 3 daughters who have given her the gift of teaching her how to parent, support and advocate for all young adults on their journey to adulthood. Her daughters are diverse and talented individuals who never stop being her best teachers. Being a mom has ignited her passion to change society by creating opportunities for young adults to work, play and be fulfilled, integral members of their communities. The Moen family has roots in Minnesota and Rhode Island but have proudly called Deep River, CT home for the past 16 years.
Marjorie Russell, M.S. Ed., BCBA
ALC Board of Directors: Chairperson
Chair: Employment Programs Working Group
Member: Fundraising Working Group
Chair: Nest Gatherings Social Activities Working Group
School Counselor, Essex Elementary School
Private Practitioner & Independent Wellness Advocate
Marjorie holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in Counseling from LI University, CW Post. She completed the certification course work for Applied Behavior Analysis as part of the first cohort for the program at Southern Connecticut State University and continued to take and pass the boards. She has worked in the field of education, counseling and positive youth development for the past 33 years. As a Counselor, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Holistic Wellness Advocate Marjorie works to integrate all her passions to help others. She is devoted to doing her part to change the world . . . one person, one body, one soul at a time. Marjorie believes in empowering individuals to realize their best self. Through her passions and skill sets, she works to help foster and develop strength and wellness from the inside out. She believes that when we each, as individuals, are well in our mind and souls, nourished in spirit – and join in community with one another – we will change our world for the better on so many levels!
Marjorie lives with her husband of 34 years, Tom Russell. She and Tom have raised 2 daughters and a son and are proud of the young adults they have become and the way they each work to make the world a better place. Currently, Marjorie’s 90-year-old father lives with her and her husband and they cherish the opportunity to spend this time with him and complete the “circle of life” by caring for him in his senior years.
In her free time, Marjorie enjoys creating – particularly gardening and watercolor painting – and spending time with her dog, Karma.
Kristen Olson, BA, MALS, MFA
ALC Board of Directors: Vice Chair
Chair: Fundraising Working Group
Member: Marketing and Public Relations Working Group
Vice President of Learning & Thought Leadership, Tessitura Network
Kristen is the Vice President of Learning & Thought Leadership for Tessitura Network, a non-profit technology company serving over 700 non-profit arts & cultural organizations in 10 countries. She joined Tessitura in 2011 with 25 years of experience in a variety of positions as both a provider and user of technology solutions for arts and cultural organizations. Prior to joining the Network, Kristen worked at Wesleyan University while pursuing two Masters degrees – one in Social Sciences from Wesleyan and an MFA in creative non-fiction from Bennington College. Kristen also holds a BA in American Studies with a concentration in 20th Century Dramatic Literature from Yale University, where her senior thesis was an oral history project with August Wilson under the advisement of black feminist cultural critic, bell hooks.
In her role at Tessitura, Kristen leads the Learning team as they evolve industry-leading learning materials and programs to enable and inspire member success with Tessitura. Her team is responsible for documentation, help systems and user guides; e-learning and video tutorials; practice management; and the Tessitura Center for Professional Development. Kristen also produces the Tessitura Network webinars program, Tessitura’s Innovator Series, and the general sessions at the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference.
Kristen lives in the beautiful shoreline town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut with her rescues Blossom and Tia.
Amy Macmillan Winchell, BA, AAS, CCTC
ALC Board of Directors: Secretary
Member: Governance Committee
Town Clerk, Town of Deep River
While Amy holds associate degrees in Graphic and Advertising Design and Patternmaking Technology, her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design from Syracuse University got her started in her career as a patternmaker for various garment manufacturers. She lived and worked in New York City, Boston and Connecticut in the garment industry for 12 years before deciding to stay home to raise her family. While she had experienced depression, anxiety and mental illness among family members, it was her son’s diagnosis of autism at age two that set her on her path to A Little Compassion. Through family and community support the Winchell family was able to face autism head on with dramatic results. Amy went from being her son’s greatest advocate to being a paraeducator in the Region #4 Special Education preschool where she helped 3 and 4-year old’s learn necessary social skills.
When the opportunity to run for the position of Town Clerk arose, Amy campaigned to be an elected official in her beloved hometown of Deep River. She has served unopposed in that position since November 2009 and hopes to continue to serve her community in that capacity for many more years. Amy is also a member of the CT Town Clerks Association and serves on the Education Committee as well as Chairwoman of the Certification Committee. She is also the Treasurer of the Middlesex County Town Clerks Association.
While Amy grew up in Deep River, she returned with her husband, Dale, to raise their three children in 1997. While she had been anxious to get out and explore the world, coming home to Deep River was the right thing to do.
Kate Cryder, AGE
Member: Finance Committee
Tax Collector, Town of Deep River
Currently the Tax Collector in Deep River, Kate earned her Certification as a Connecticut Municipal Collector and hopes to serve the town years into the future.
Her background is diverse and includes many years in the restaurant business; from family businesses on Long Island to Food Service Director in several private retirement communities here in Connecticut. Kate is an experienced bookkeeper and presently holds a position as accounts manager for an electronics distribution firm. Passionate about animal welfare, Kate has also been employed by SaybrookPolice Department, Animal Control Division since 2009.
Kate earned an Associates degree in general education while living in North Carolina, a non-profit certificate from Duke University and later an accounting certificate here in Connecticut.
Gale Dilger, BS, MS
Co-Chair: Nest Gatherings and Social Activities Working Group
Member: Fundraising Working Group
Gale is a paraprofessional working with children with special needs at Essex Elementary School.
Her previous career was in human resources management with several companies including Northeast Utilities and Yankee Gas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College and a master’s degree in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford.
In between careers, she was a full-time Mom to three children, volunteering in numerous roles including president of the Deep River Elementary School Board, board member of Tri-Town Youth Services, and TopSoccer volunteer. Currently, she is a member of the Deep River Garden Club; vice president of the Sisterhood at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in New Britain, a member of The Nest’s fundraising and Gathering committees and a member of the Killingworth Refugee Resettlement Committee.
Mary Jo Helchowski, BFA
Co-Chair: Nest Gatherings & Social Activities Working Group Member: Fundraising Working Group
Children’s Book Illustrator
Mary Jo graduated from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in 2014 with a BFA in illustration. She currently works not only as a freelance illustrator of children’s books, but also as a graphic designer at a printing company. She works creatively, regardless of the task, and is able to come up with unconventional solutions to difficult problems.
Though an artist by trade, Mary Jo has quite a bit of personal experience when it comes to fitting in, finding acceptance, and helping others do the same. No one has ever sat alone at a lunch table on Mary Jo’s watch.
Mary Jo is currently the youngest board member, but she is confident she brings something new and quirky to the table and gives a voice to the population ALC serves for the simple reason that she is a young adult who needs a soft place to land.
Co-Chair: Marketing & Public Relations Working Group
Member: Fundraising Working Group
Email Marketing Manager – David Weekely Homes
Max holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology – Sports Administration with a focus in Public Relations from the University of Houston and is currently employed as the Email Marketing Manager for David Weekley Homes (DWH) managing the company’s email marketing program. Before his current role at DWH, Max assisted the Digital Media department with all social media, email marketing, paid advertising, website content updates, and customer care responses as the Online Content Coordinator. He also worked with the marketing department for Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) where he assisted with all PR and Social Media efforts, as well as coordinated promotional events for their monthly performances and their yearly awards show. Before his roles at DWH and TUTS, Max worked for a non-profit organization, MetDance, which focuses on providing dance education to children across the greater Houston area. At MetDance, he also managed their annual fundraising competition and workshop events.
Prior to completing school, Max travelled the world working professionally as a performer and entertainer. He worked with Disney Entertainment in Tokyo and Orlando, spent two years performing at sea with Celebrity Cruise Lines, and then toured the US performing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. Max enjoyed teaching dance as much as he did performing, which then led to a 10-year teaching career where he taught musical theatre and dance to students and adults of all levels and abilities. With his personal values of family, passion, travel, and authenticity, Max is currently focused on creating as much of an impact as possible in whatever way he can. Max and his husband Jeremy have two dogs (Max (the dog) and Toby), and hope to expand their family in the near future. Texas is currently home, but family extends from Ohio to Louisiana and across the pond to England.
Steve Little, BS, MBA
Co-Chair: Finance Committee
Member: Governance Committee
Chief Information Officer Xerox – Retired
Steve holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. With more than 40 years’ experience in Information technology, Steve has spent his career in international companies, almost exclusively in management positions. Currently retired, he was most recently Corporate Vice President and Chief Information officer for Xerox, where he had responsibility for all of Xerox’s information technology activities.
Prior to Xerox, Steve spent 20 years with Schneider Electric in various Information Technology management positions, the last 7 years as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. While as CIO of Schneider Steve lived in Paris France and had extensive experience working with many different cultures, especially those in Europe and Asia. Prior to Schneider Steve spent 10 years at AON corporation as CIO of its specialty insurance businesses. Steve has many interests, one of which is helping young people get a start in life.
Cheryl Ritacco, BA
Member: Marketing & Public Relations
Working Group Director of Accounts at Overabove, LLC
Cheryl is currently the Director of Accounts at Overabove LLC, a strategic marketing firm based in Centerbrook, CT. Cheryl first became involved with A Little Compassion through Overabove when she oversaw the creative, branding and messaging work her team did to help launch The Nest. Prior to her time with Overabove, Cheryl spent over 35 years in the broadcast news and marketing industries. This background gives Cheryl the ability to continue to build a unique and compelling strategy that spreads the story and mission of The Nest and A Little Compassion. Cheryl also serves as a Corporator for Norwich Free Academy and has previously served on boards for the American Heart Association, Norwich Ice Rink Authority and Norwich Figure Skating Club. Cheryl earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from The University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Carol Zierhoffer, BS, MSCIS
Chair: Governance Committee
Member: Finance Committee
Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer at Bechtel Corporation – Retired
Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH and a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. With 35+ years’ experience in the IT industry, Carol currently is the SVP & Global Chief Information Officer at Bechtel Corporation. Carol oversees Bechtel’s Global Information Systems & Technology (IS&T) organization with responsibility for Bechtel’s IT infrastructure, operations, information security, software applications and technology solutions for Bechtel business lines and projects worldwide. Carol leads a team of approximately 1000 IT professionals focused on digital transformation, innovation, global collaboration, information security and operational efficiency.
Carol’s prior technology experience includes: Vice President & Global Chief Information Officer of Xerox Corporation (2012 – 2014), Vice President & Global Chief Information Officer of ITT Corporation (2008 – 2011), and Vice President & Chief Information Officer of 3 Northrop Grumman sectors (1988 – 2008).
Carol also serves on the board of directors of Vizient, Inc, (June 2016 – present) where she is a member of the Audit Committee and had previously served on the Board of MedAssets (April 2013 – January 2016) where she was the founding chair of the Information Technology Committee and served on the Audit Committee. In addition, she also serves on the Advisory Committee for Nutanix, Inc. (March 2019 – present).