Staff and Board
Dr. Kerul Kassel
President and Executive Director
Dr. Kerul Kassel has almost two decades of leadership coaching and transformative facilitation experience, with multiple coaching credentials. She has been quoted in TIME magazine, Real Simple, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Dr. Kassel received a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University, where she was recruited to help develop and teach in the Sustainability Leadership certificate program within the Organizational Development and Leadership Masters program. She’s the author of The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability (Business Expert Press, 2014) and other books, and the lead editor of Developing a Sustainability Mindset in Management Education (Routledge, 2018). Kerul is also an elected official on the Harmony Community Development District Board of Supervisors and leads a number of community initiatives. Her horses are her leadership gurus, always teaching her leadership and life lessons that she shares with her playshop participants.
Assistant Executive Director
Allyn is an educator who received her Master's degree in elementary education from NC State University. She continues to have a passion for education and leadership after working as a preschool and kindergarten teacher. Assisting in the various programs, particularly with the veterans and teens, allows her to flex that teaching and mentoring muscle.
She is well-travelled and loves meeting people of different backgrounds and cultures. Allyn is a proud wife and mother of two, as well as a fervent dog lover and owner of a pack of Australian Shepherds. She has been working at the foundation in various capacities for three years and is eager to hep the foundation make a bigger impact on the local community through her new role.
Community Engagement Director
Kristina is a professional creator and also a passionate animal lover. Prior to becoming a photographer for her own established company, she earned an education in neuroscience and wildlife conservation. Most of the animals that she has worked with in the past have been exotic, but has always cared for domestic animals in her personal life. In a more recent career change, she has focused on how content creation, art, and strategy can be used a platform to build a network and relationships. Coincidentally, this career change introduced her to First Nature Foundation which became a great fit!
Bill is a Philadelphia area native, who now resides in Davenport, and has over 15 years of fundraising experience. He has worked at several colleges and universities, and other nonprofits throughout Pennsylvania, as well as served on the Sons of Ben Board of Directors as both Philanthropy Chair and President. He chose this career path because he believes it is important for people to give back and help where they can.
Horse Care Professional
Melanie has a lifelong love for horses. She was born and raised in Belgium, and at an early age she would always find her way back to the barn to either clean stalls or ride. She now shares her passion with her daughter and together they own three horses, as well as many other critters ranging from the tiniest spiders to the loudest goats. Melanie is a very outgoing person and enjoys trail-riding with family and friends, and also loves to share her passion for horses with those around her.
Board of Directors
Board Member and Collaborator
Argerie Vasilakes has more than twenty years of experience as a business leader designing prosperous organizations. As an independent consultant, she works in cross-sector settings to turn industry, social and public health disruptions into sources of innovation and well-being. She co-authored Transforming Ourselves to Transform our Organizations (OD Practitioner, 2017) and writes about her partnerships within communities that learn to become resilient living systems. She holds Masters degrees in Adult Education from Cleveland State University and Positive Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
Eva has been a child and family advocate for 30 years serving in a variety of arenas which includes school-based substance abuse prevention, child welfare, juvenile justice, and substance abuse and mental health policy. Eva is experienced in developing staff, families and systems through a lens that is trauma informed and is passionate about motivating others to be intentional and effective in helping children and families. Her expertise and passion for this work is channeled through three companies Horner Consulting Services, Child Welfare Solutions and YIN Wellness.
Eva and her husband Mat have three active children and have a rich family life.
Dr. Katrina Rogers is the President of Fielding Graduate University, a position she has held since 2013. She began her time at Fielding in 2005 first as the Associate Dean for Fielding and Director of the Institute for Social Innovation and in 2011 moved into the role of Provost and Senior Vice President. She is also a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship, a post-doctoral fellowship, where she taught global environmental politics at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Rogers is an advocate for environmental and social justice issues. She has served on a number of committees and worked with international organizations such as the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization and the European Union. She led conservation projects in rural communities, lobbied Congress for stronger environmental legislation, and raised more than $20 million in grants and donations for conservation efforts throughout the country.
Lisandra Gonzalez is the Financial Controller for The Transition House. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Everett University and holds professional industry certifications from the Construction Financial Management Association. She has over fifteen years of experience in the behavioral health, manufacturing, distribution, construction, engineering, education, and hotel industries. She finds her position highly rewarding as it combines her love of accounting and analytical and organizational expertise with her passionate commitment to supporting the progress of clients.
Her personal interests are enjoying outdoor activities with her family, volunteering at her church and at The Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida.
Board Member Emeritus
The late Patty Foley, CPA, owned a CPA firm developed to assist the small business and its owner/family. Her firm focused on financial consulting and tax compliance as they are crucial to the small business owner. Patty had extensive experience with non-profit and community boards, was president and trustee of a fifteen member volunteer board to raise awareness and funds to support the Lucy Robbins Welles Library, served with Friends of Connecticut Libraries, was president of the New England Lace Group and Membership Chairperson and Public Relations Director of Newington Community Television. In 2008, she was awarded the Outstanding Friend of the year by Friends of Connecticut Libraries, and she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna and inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at Housatonic Community College.
Debbie is an accomplished Senior Leader with more than 40 years of experience in operational leadership, training and development, customer service, production manufacturing, and corporate cultural engineering. Debbie has collaborated with established and start-up organizations to assist them in creating long-term success. Her broad areas of expertise include management consulting, change management, instructional design, organizational development, management and executive coaching and training. Throughout her career, Debbie has held leadership positions with Walt Disney World and has founded, owned, and operated three advisory and training companies.
She is a skilled speaker and dynamic trainer, who has designed and delivered training for both the private and public sector.